A Coffee Cup With a Conscience



Disposable coffee cups fuel our waste problem. The Good Cup is offering a cuppa sustainability instead.

Collectively, coffee drinkers around the world throw away billions of single-use coffee cups per year — 50 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Most of those cups can’t be recycled because they’re coated with a thin layer of plastic that helps keep the coffee warm. The lids are often made of polypropylene or #6 polystyrene, a plastic that’s hard to recycle and, when it’s a lid, rarely is. As a result, those cups and lids end up in landfills or as litter in city parks, on streets, beside highways and rural roadways, and in lakes, rivers, and oceans, contributing to the 400 million tons of plastic waste generated around the world annually.

As a response, a Hong Kong-based packaging manufacturer has developed The Good Cup, a paper cup whose top edges fold down and snap into place, eliminating the need for a plastic lid. The cup, which won a 2023 German Design Award, is made from renewable and safely disposable agricultural sources (such as sugarcane waste) and is fully recyclable and compostable.

According to company publicist Aaron Sanders, The Good Cup has caught on in parts of Europe, Japan, and Australia. Once distribution agreements are in place (likely this year or next), it should start appearing in coffee shops in the U.S. and Canada.

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Alec Ross
Alec Ross
Veteran freelance writer and author Alec Ross lives in Kingston, Ontario.
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