America drinks an astonishing 400 million cups of coffee a day, putting 146 billion disposable coffee cups in landfills each year. Now, California environmental organization Reduce. Reuse. Grow. is using these post-consumer fibers to create biodegradable cups that not only decompose within 180 days, but are also embedded with seeds of native flowers and trees, helping to reforest as they cut down on waste.
Though recyclable cups help, it says that they stop short of solving the problem. Cups can only be recycled a few times before their fibers aren’t useable anymore and they end up in the landfill anyway. But Reduce. Reuse. Grow. says there are several ways its cups could be used by consumers. Coffee shops using the cups could keep a special bin that the organization would pick up and distribute in areas that need new plant life, or coffee drinkers can keep their own cups and grow the flowers and trees where they choose, by soaking a cup in water for five minutes and then burying it. The cups will contain plants and flowers native to whatever region you’re in, indicated by a drawing of the state on the outside. The current prototypes for California contain seeds for plants like poppy flowers and redwood trees. And its just not for show either: The plants grown from one cup could extract one ton of CO2 from the air every year.
The plantable coffee cups are currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and are almost to their goal of $10,000 with 12 days to go.
[via Laughing Squid]