Innovation That Matters

Compostable cup

One-piece to-go cup eliminates need for plastic covers


A compostable to-go drink container uses a three-step origami process to replace the need for plastic lids.

Designed and created by a team of New York Cooper Union engineering students, the TrioCup uses an origami-style tri-fold top to form a one-piece, fully compostable to-go drinks container. Initial estimates are that the cup will be cost competitive with what is currently used by most vendors because, although requiring slightly more paper, the integrated lid negates the need for a separate plastic one.

The design won the 2017 New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, and the team highlights its spill resistance and how quick it is to fold, taking no more time than it does to attach a traditional plastic cover. It is also easy to unfold, allowing users to open and close the drinking slot as needed. The design has recently been patented, and the company is now taking up its place on a 12-month accelerator program to work on the final design, including creating a completely recyclable product, and prepare for market.

Coffee has become such a popular drink that all aspects of the supply chain are working to improve large-scale sustainability. The husks of the beans are being used to create a long-lasting cup designed to fit traditional saucers, and a resource management company has set up a recycling scheme specifically for businesses. How could the hospitality industry incorporate some of these innovations?




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