Folding disposable coffee cup has no need for plastic lids
The convenience plastic offers through single-use straws, water bottles and disposable coffee cups comes at no small cost to the environment, but we are growing more aware of the damage they cause. And with that awareness comes new eco-conscious products that can help us chip away at the problem. The Unocup is a simple yet clever example, using a paper folding design to give coffee drinkers a takeout option without the need for a plastic lid.
Reusable water bottles, paper straws and even reusable cutlery have grown in popularity recently, as have reusable coffee cups. But there will be situations where people are in need of a caffeine hit and don’t have their KeepCup or Joco handy – in fact, lots and lots of situations. New York City generates around four million disposable coffee lids a day, according to the folks behind Unocup.
Their solution takes aim at these plastic lids that need centuries to decompose, rather than the plastic-lined paper used in takeaway coffee cups, which the team says takes just 20. Their folding cups are made from that same plastic-lined paper material, at least for now. They have actually been in development since 2015, with the team working through a string of prototypes to arrive at a final design with the right mix of ergonomics, spill resistance and durability.
It works much like a paper noodle box, securing its steamy contents inside a paper chamber with folding flaps at the top for safer transport. These flaps come together in a way that leaves a small spout at one end for the liquid to be sipped through, and can be easily popped open to give it some air or show off some latte art.
The team has taken to Kickstarter in an attempt to drum up some interest around its folding cups from both consumers and businesses who might like to stock them. You can imagine if small cafes and eventually larger chains, such as Starbucks or 7-Eleven, got onboard with this kind of idea, it could prevent a lot of plastic waste entering the environment.
Interestingly, the campaign is drawing support from individuals also, with almost 100 backers pledging more than US$5,000 of the company’s $14,5000 goal at the time of writing. We can’t see too many everyday people buying their own disposable coffee cups over and over, so this seems more like financial support for the concept than a deeply considered product purchase.
But if either of those options are motivation enough, pledges start at $12 for a pack of 20 plain white Unocups, with shipping slated for July 2020.