Biodegradable Coffee Cups Implanted with Seeds Develop Into Trees When Discarded


Given the dramatic impact our consumer society makes upon our ecological system with the tons of disposable packaging ending in the environment, the latest trend of ‘plantable packaging’ may help protect our planet from further damage.

Landscape architecture student, Alex Henige, may have come upon the most ingenious idea of how to recycle disposable coffee cups, but not in the conventional way. His recycling method is based on this idea of ‘plantable packaging’ meaning that once the coffee cup is planted, it biodegrades and grows into a tree. The plantable Coffee Cup V1 is intended to reduce the adverse effect our daily use of disposables has on our environment.

Biodegradable Coffee Cups Implanted with Seeds Develop Into Trees When Discarded

For this purpose, he started the Reduce. Reuse. Grow’s KickStarter campaign, which needs to raise $10,000 in order to start commercial manufacturing of the Coffee Cup V1. For now, the coffee cups can be found at retail coffee shops.

A fact that not many people know, according to Reduce.Reuse.Grow, is that even when paper cups are recycled, they have to be reused for a number of times before the fibers actually break down. In other words, this means that even with all the efforts we are making toward cutting the harmful effects of waste on the environment, we aren’t actually making significant change.

It’s RRG’s intention to bring this to an end by introducing containers made of compostable materials that have seeds embedded in their walls. The best thing is that once the cup is used, it will biodegrade in about 6 months.

If we take into consideration that the average annual use of disposable coffee cups is 146 billion in the U.S. alone, and one cup grows one tree, this recycling method will significantly promote forestation on a local level. If you further consider that one tree will remove one ton of CO2 in its projected 40-year lifespan, you can only imagine the positive effects this will bring on our environment in the long run.


Last, but not least, the seeds implanted in the cups are indigenous to each area the cup is sold in, meaning that this will support and strengthen the local ecosystems.