Brooklyn-based design studio uses home-grown vegetables to produce a sustainable alternative to disposable coffee cups.
Designers grow gourds in moulds to create biodegradable HyO-Cup
Brooklyn-based CRÈME studio grow gourds in moulds to create biodegradable drinking vessels called the HyO-Cup. They claim the cups can be manufactured on a mass scale – offering a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper coffee cups, which are typically lined with unsustainable plastic polyethylene.
What if nature could help with the coffee cup calamity?
In 2006, Starbucks reported having used 2.6 billions cups at their stores. While the manufacturing of each paper-based cup produces 0.24 lbs of CO2 emission, only 0.25% are estimated to be recycled after disposal. We are in an urgent need to shift our current cradle-to-grave paradigm. But what if aside from being a material resource, nature could also take part in the process?
Along the exploration that this thought initiated, CRÈME identified gourds as a fast growing plant that bears robust fruits each season, developing a strong outer skin, and fibery inner flesh. Once dried, gourds have traditionally been used by ancestors as receptacles like cups. Crème explored this centuries-old craft, using molds to grow gourds into functional shapes, such as cups and flasks to create sustainable, renewable, and compostable products without waste.
The design is one of 12 entries in the Nextgen Cup Challenge
DesignBoom report the design is one of 12 entries in the Nextgen Cup Challenge, a competition to redesign the fibre to-go cup and create a widely recyclable and/or compostable alternative. Starbucks invested $10M to launch the challenge in partnership with the Closed Loop partners and the consortium which includes McDonald’s, the Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé and Wendy’s.
The 12 teams will be awarded a portion of up to $1 million in funding, and up to six of them will have the chance to develop their designs. They will receive ongoing support to scale up their models and prepare for production and distribution at a global scale, meaning the 250 billion fibre to-go cups that Starbucks uses annually could transform right before our eyes.