As 3Ders points out, beverage empire Starbucks uses 250 billion fiber cups at their locations at an annual rate. This is not a very sustainable system. Thankfully, New York-based design studio Crème Design is working on a solution.
Crème has created “HyO, a completely organic, biodegradable cup made from a gourd grown inside a 3D printed mold to take their functional shape.”
As Crème explains, “HyO (pronounced hi-o) is a derivative of the Japanese word hyotan, which means gourd. Gourds have traditionally ben used by cultures around the world as receptacles like cups for centuries. They are fast-growing plants, which bear robust fruit each season. Once dried, the gourds develop a robust outer skin and their fibrous inner flesh becomes watertight. Crème adapted this centuries old method [in order to] create its own compostable vessels, using the modern technique of 3D printing to create cup-shaped molds, in any shape or size. They eventually developed a stackable set of cups that mimic the silhouette of a classic faceted glass cup.”
Crème is able to grow “gourds into customizable functional shapes, such as cups and flasks, which can be composted instead of filling up landfills like the plastic alternative.” The company explains the HyO-Cups, “being 100% biodegradable, could significantly help to reduce waste. They initially grew them outdoors but there were many barriers such as weather, pets, humidity, and flooding. The team is now growing them in a container laboratory set up in a shipping container. The next step for Crème is to grow them in an indoor laboratory.”
The only downside of developing these HyO-Cups is the necessary 100 days it takes for them to mature. “Crème is working on optimizing the process to scale up the production. As with all new projects, they are starting small and aiming to scale up in order to increase quantity and lower the price per gourd, so the cup can be a challenger to the plastic waste industry.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders