Edible, compostable, ecological: Natural packaging alternatives for your drink to go
Plastic cups and PET bottles will soon be things of the past, as biodegradable and plastic-free packaging is being developed for beverages as well. We introduce some companies that package milk in a sugar crust, coffee in coffee-bean husks, water in sea algae and beer in cardboard. Read More
Made of coffee for coffee
500 billion single-use coffee cups land in the tip every year. Many manufacturers have shown us a better way with biodegradable cups. The Australian HuskeeCup company has taken things that little bit further by making their coffee cups out of coffee as well. They use coffee-bean husks, a waste product from the roasting process.
These cups are more than just environmentally friendly; their curvy, ribbed design makes them pleasant to look at and to hold. This innovative solution was honoured with the 2018 Australian Good Design Award for its attractive shape and exception functionality, which just goes to show that environmentally friendly can also be chic.
Milk without the packaging
Many coffee drinkers enjoy their favourite pick-me up with just the right amount of milk and a pinch of sugar. Anyone who cares enough about the environment to sip their hot beverage from a HuskeeCup will find this milk packaging the perfect alternative to the usual plastic creamer packets. A liquid creamer centre is coated with a sweet sugar crust that dissolves in hot liquid. And these elegant milk capsules have been developed with different levels of sweetness. Just choose your preferred sugar-to-milk ratio, pop it into your hot coffee and enjoy your morning brew. Unfortunately, the milk packages developed at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg are not commercially available yet, as there is still some testing to be done.
Juicy Orange / Feel the Peel
If we can enjoy coffee in coffee-bean-husk cups, why not sip orange juice from orange-peel cups? The “Feel the Peel” juice bar developed by the Carlo Ratti Associati design and innovation agency not only squeezes the juice out of oranges; it also produces bioplastic from the peels that becomes 3D-printed disposable cups.
Order your juice, then watch as the oranges roll down into the squeezer to be sliced in half and juiced. The peels fall into the lower part, where they are turned into bioplastic filament that is fed into a 3D printer. Then watch as a disposable eco-cup emerges right in front of you to be filled with a shot of freshly squeezed juice.
A beverage that comes packaged in a thin, dissolvable coating has certainly earned the name “Ohoo!” Made of algae and other plants, Notpla is a substance that naturally degrades in just a few weeks. If someone doesn’t eat it before then, of course, since Notpla is edible and tasteless.
The innovative packaging is ideal for small portions of sauce or drinks and, according to its inventor London start-up Skipping Rocks Lab, cheaper to make than plastic. It is the perfect to-go plastic alternative, if you will.
Beer from cardboard bottles? No fizz when a can is opened, no plop of a bottle cap? Danish Carlsberg Brewery launched a test run of cardboard beer bottles in 2019. They are designed to naturally degrade, both bottle and top, in five years, so they can be tossed with a clear conscience.
Carlsberg plans to provide a return system for its Green Fiber Bottle as well, developed in cooperation with the ecoXpac packaging company. There are plans in the works to use the bottle for other beverages and liquids too.
The water bottles sold by Choose Water are also completely compostable. Based in Edinburgh, the company manufactures all the elements of a water bottle from the screw-top to the label without any plastic at all. Recycled newspaper is the primary material used, which means the bottles completely degrade inside a year.
The labels are printed using bio-inks, and the bottle’s metal cap rusts into its mineral components when composted. Along with its unique packaging, Choose Water also markets fresh, Scottish spring water from the Cairngorms, a mountain chain in north-eastern Scotland. A portion of the money earned goes to charity partner Water for Africa.