Coffee Cups Embedded with Seeds Grow Into Trees and Wildflowers

Instead of sending your coffee cup to a landfill, you soon might be able to plant it and watch it grow into a wildflower or tree

Americans consume 400 million disposable coffee cups a day.

Almost all of them end up in a landfill (or the ocean) where they take up to 50 years to decompose.

In addition to trashing up the planet, coffee cups are deforesting it.

Starbucks alone kills a million trees a year to make 4 billion non-recyclable “paper” cups lined with plastic.

An entrepreneur in California has come up with a solution: biodegradable cups embedded with seeds of native flowers and trees.

When “disposed” of the cups would help offset the loss of the tree required to make them, by producing at least one whole tree or a countless number of wildflowers.

Customers would see the seed variety and planting instructions printed on the cup.

It might sound like a lot of work for consumers drinking coffee on the go, but if they weren’t up to the task themselves, they could toss it in a special receptacle at the coffee shop where they would be picked up by the manufacturers and planted in one of three California nature reserves.

Traditional coffee cups, lines with polyethylene,  take up to 50 years to decompose.

These cups, designed by the startup Reduce. Reuse.Grow. are lined with a plant-based plastic called PLA, which decomposes in 3-6 months. The seeds are embedded in the paper portion of the cup.

The cups would cost 2 cents each instead of a penny each, which does t sound like much , but adds up when you’re selling 4 billion a year (ahem… Starbucks), Forbes points out.

But perhaps with a little consumer pressure, the coffee giant will keep the promise it made years ago to come up with biodegradable cups.