Only one percent of coffee cups are recycled across the world. Despite this, research in London has shown that most consumers want their takeaway coffee cups to be sustainable.* More than half agreed that current options come at too much of an environmental cost, and a third would avoid buying takeaway cups because of this. In the past couple of years however, more branded coffee shops are doing their best to introduce better environmental services. Recycling schemes have been the main focus because many coffee cups are still made from a combination of non-recyclable paper and a plastic waterproof edging. One British bio-based company has made a breakthrough with the first biodegradable coffee cup. The product which is made from plant matter can turn into water and carbon within three months.
“When 2.5 billion takeaway cups are thrown away each year, and less than one per cent are recycled, each cup adds up,” said Biome Bioplastics CEO Paul Mines. Never before have such bioplastic materials for disposable cups and lids been made that are fully compostable and recyclable, while still performing like petroleum-based plastic under heat and stress.
For the last five years, Biome Bioplastics ( @BiomePlastics ) has developed a range of biopolymers for coffee cups, lids and coffee pods based on natural and renewable resources including plant starches and tree by-products such as cellulose. The company’s mission is to produce bioplastics to challenge the dominance of oil-based polymers, and ultimately replace them. Building on 20 years of development activity, Biome Bioplastics produces a range of high-performance, plant-based bioplastics that are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. Its biopolymers are suitable for both short-life and disposable products, as well as long-life, durable applications.
"The shocking amount of landfill waste shows the urgent need for big brands to accelerate work in new, sustainable materials such as bioplastics.”
More research shows that only three out of 25 coffee chain shops sold reusable cups across all of their stores, and only those three offered customers an incentive to bring in their own cup. Despite this, Biome’s CEO assures that there are already high-tech biopolymer materials being produced in Britain which are ready to be deployed at a market scale. These bioplastic alternatives can perform exactly like traditional plastic products.
The British bioplastics manufacturer has unveiled a range of bio-based plastics for cups and lids to enable retailers and packaging manufacturers to offer consumers a more sustainable option.
To find out about more sustainable packaging options, come along to our next Bio-Based Live Europe conference held in partnership with the University of Amsterdam. Network with the likes of Carlsberg, TIPA, Dopper and Totally Green Bottles and Caps.
Mines said: “For such a simple product, disposing of a single coffee cup is a very complex problem.” Their solution aims to make biopolymers that can be made into fully biodegradable coffee cup and lid combinations. The result being a bio-based takeaway cup disposable either in a paper recycling stream or food waste stream.
To conclude, Mines strongly believes that the “shocking amount of landfill waste shows the urgent need for big brands to accelerate work in new, sustainable materials such as bioplastics.” It is hoped that now high street retailers can give consumers what they want according to the research that was conducted in London – the desire for a sustainable takeaway cup option that can either be properly recycled or composted.
*Statistics provided by Biome Bioplastics.
For more stories like this: