Biodegradable Coffee Cups Grow Into Trees When Thrown Away

Americans love their coffee. On average, each of us drinks two cups of java a day. And much of that coffee is placed in paper or styrofoam containers, both of which wind up in landfills and create an environmental hazard.

Now, however, a California company is hoping to eliminate some of that coffee cup waste and increase the number of trees in the country, according to the State Times:

“In an effort to help reduce this overwhelming amount of waste, CEO Alex Henige of the company Reduce. Reuse. Grow. (RRG) has developed an alternative paper cup.

“The coffee cup Henige’s team has created is composed of plant-based plastic and is then embedded with seeds of varying regions depending on where the cups are being distributed. These cups are fully functional with the seeds being unaffected by the liquid and the heat due to the biodegradable plastic’s protection.”

And planting the cup is easier than you might think because the bottom of the cups are printed with gardening instructions, which are incredibly simple:

  • Unravel the cup
  • Soak the cup in water for five minutes
  • Bury the cup in the earth
  • Watch a tree grow


RRG is also partnering with stores that use their cups so that customers who don’t want to do the planting themselves can leave their cups with the store, which will then make sure the cups are planted to create trees.

The coffee cup project began in a novel way, Healthy Food House notes:

“RRG’s Kickstarter allowed customers to buy products other than the coffee cups to help fund the company’s research for more seeds able to withstand the process of becoming a coffee cup and being stable enough to be planted afterward.

“These products involved shirts, hats, and framed pictures of healthy landscapes of varying sizes, and in this way, RRG was able to get $21,000 to get their company off the ground and help the Earth with its cups.”

The problem of waste from coffee cups cannot possibly be overstated. Each year, tons of coffee cup waste is added to the planet. And  those cups can take decades to fully decompose:

“In oceans, the cups only take a few days to decompose, but the issue is that they are made with dangerous elemental components, including polyethylene and chlorine dioxide.

Styrofoam, which is a commonly used material for hot beverage containers, is something of an ecological nightmare. Namely, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which blow away on the breeze, causing widespread pollution, or ending up possibly eaten by animals.”

But thanks to RRG, all of that’s changing.

On the company’s Facebook page, Henige posted a comment that he and the company — which is a sister to Restoration Packaging — has a goal “to set a new standard within the disposable foodservice packaging industry. We believe with each product served, we can have a positive impact within that local community.”

So the next time you stop by your local coffee shop, don’t be surprised if your cuppa joe is served in one of these innovative RRG cups. And if it is, do a good deed for Mother Earth and plant that cup so we can all enjoy the splendor of more trees.


Featured Image Via Reduce. Reuse. Grow.


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Andrew Bradford

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