Readers of this blog will know that I’m interested in how the coffee shop industry is trying to make itself more sustainable. A key issue, particularly in the UK recently, has been about the sustainability of coffee cups, in particular the disposable ones, and the amount of landfill they create. With an ongoing interest on this issue I’ve been collecting various examples of companies that produce ‘more sustainable’ coffee cups either those for use in the coffee shop or as a reusable or takeaway option.
There have been various attempts to use some of the byproducts of coffee from cascara to the coffee grounds. I’ve even heard of examples of cups made from coffee grounds. But recently I learnt about another coffee cup made from coffee husks, or chaff. HuskeeCup use coffee husks (the layer around the coffee bean) in order to produce a reusable, recyclable cup. I have seen examples where coffee husks have been used for composting, and even as fuel, but this is the first time I had heard about it being used as part of cup production.
At the end of the harvest, coffee farmers are left with tonnes of this organic material. While it has previously been used as a fertilizer supplement and even a carbonized fuel source, there is currently no economically viable and sustainable way of dealing with it. HuskeeCup is the first solution of its kind to address this issue. (HuskeeCup, 2017)
According to the infographic from HuskeeCup the average coffee drinker is responsible for over 3 kg of coffee husk waste each year, and that 1.35 million tonnes of husk waste is produced each year globally, indicating the scale of the waste issue. In addition to being a more sustainable coffee cup option, it also claims to keep your coffee hotter for longer.
It’s clearly made an impression with a very positive response to their Kickstarter campaign already, and they have also won an award for their Design in the ‘Best Coffee Vessel’ category at this year’s Global Specialty Coffee Expo. Another great example of how companies are attempting to utilise byproducts of coffee production.