New plantable coffee cups contribute to reforestation

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Karina Aggarwal - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

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A company in San Luis Obispo called “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” invented the world’s first plantable coffee cup. According to project founder Alex Henige, this invention will help tackle paper cup problems, such as paper cups that are not recyclable, by helping reforestation. The cups will contribute to reforestation because the product contains native seeds to each specific region that will grow into trees and other vegetation to restock forests and woodlands. This 12-ounce cup contains seeds from local nurseries and landscapes. These cups are based on location, so that each cup contains native seeds from the area that it is served in.

The procedure is simplified into a few steps. First, the cup unravels and is put into water for a few minutes. Shortly thereafter, the cup is buried into the ground and will eventually grow into a plant.

“The thought of ‘throwing away’ items which would later be sent into local landfills always seemed like a strange concept and, ultimately a huge design flaw within or current consumption day to day actions,” said Alex Henige.

The bottom of the cup has instructions on usage, including how and where to plant for the best results. There is also an option to toss the cup in a designated “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” bin, where the company officials will relocate the cup to a reforestation site. The cup is currently in a prototype phase and the company is gaining funds so that they can take the product into commercial production. The company plans to sell their products to coffee shops and other localized businesses.

“I think that these plantable coffee cups are a great idea,” said junior Madison Young. “They are environmentally friendly and are an easy way for people to help the environment.”

Recyclable cups have already been created, but they can be effectively reused a few times before the product loses its fibers and can no longer be salvaged. However, “Reduce. Reuse. Grow” plantable cups are compost-certified and can biodegradable within 180 days. So far the project has raised over $11,000 on www.kickstarter.com. Go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reducereusegrow to donate to the project or go to http://www.earthporm.com/plantable-coffee-cups-trees/ to learn more.

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