A US-based design studio has developed a sustainable alternative to disposable coffee cups made out of home-grown vegetables.
In a bid to slash the use of plastic-lined disposable paper cups, CRÈME has started growing gourds in molds to create biodegradable, compostable beakers that can be manufactured on a mass scale.
The fast-growing plants have been used for storage throughout history – when their strong outer skin and fibrous inner flesh are dried they become watertight.
CRÈME grows the gourds in a laboratory to produce a more consistent product than is possible in an outdoor environment.
It hopes the green containers will make a big difference – currently, less than 1% of single-use cups are recycled after disposal.
A spokesperson from the studio said: “We can grow gourds into customisable functional shapes such as cups and flasks that can be composted instead of filling up landfills like the plastic alternative.
“Like all new projects, we are starting small and hope to scale up to increase quantity and lower the price per gourd, so that the cup can be a viable challenger to the plastic waste industry.”