Plantable Cups – the First of Its Kind – Will Help Us Support the Green Cause

Turning a coffee cup into a seed resource is the last thing I had in mind when I woke up this morning, but then start ups have often surprised us with their innovative ways of thinking. A creative California start up based in San Louis Obispo called Reduce. Reuse. Grow has created a coffee cup which is biodegradable. But that’s not where it stopped in achieving a greener environment, the cup has seeds embedded in it which can be used for growing plants.

How did the idea form?

Alex Heinge, Founder of Reduce. Reuse. Grow was into landscape architecture when he saw the ever growing need of creating sustainable packaging products which can help the earth. The market currently lacks such products so if you order an item, you end up with packaging material that is nothing more than trash. This trash usually ends up in landfills and can be harmful for the environment.

So Heinge decided to move his focus from landscape architecture to creating a Zero waste product that does more than just turn into useful compost for your plants. The team at Reduce. Reuse. Grow came up with a coffee cup that can actually turn into a plant after it has served its purpose of holding your coffee.

This is an attempt of the team to offset the Carbon footprint which was created when the product was created.

How does it work?

There is no denying that we are dealing with a huge trash problem throughout the world. Reduce. Reuse. Grow have created the world’s first plantable coffee cups. Once you finish the coffee, you can either plant it yourself or you can discard the cup in a special trash which will be picked up by Reduce. Reuse. Grow so that the cups can be taken to a site for reforestation purposes.

If you choose to plant it yourself, then you simply have to unravel the cup and soak it in water for five minutes. Then plant the seeds and watch them grow. Planting instructions are mentioned on the bottom of the cup for those who will need help in planting the seeds. The average germination time of the seeds is 1 to 4 weeks based on which seeds you are planting. The seeds that have been chosen can be planted at any time of the year so you will not have to wait for a certain season to plant the seeds.

Coffee drinkers who choose to throw away the cup instead of planting it will still be giving back to the environment, because the cup is extremely eco-friendly and is compost certified. It will biodegrade in 180 days turning the cup and the seeds into nutrients for other plants.

Reforestation Locations

The company has identified reforestation locations in California. They are mainly small community projects or National parks where native planting is required because the original plants of the area have been destroyed. The cups will go to Boy Scouts, National Forests, Community Members and Non Profit organizations for reforestation purposes.

The reforestation sites can be located in fire prone areas where plants have been previously destroyed by fire. The coffee cup seeds will also be planted at deforestation sites to replenish the plants in the area. Overgrazed lands and brownfields are also going to benefit from this creative project.

For those who are going to take the cup home, the cup mentions the places where you can plant the seeds yourself.

Where do the seeds come from?

The seeds are collected from different nurseries and landscapes located in Canada. They are then mixed in Santa Barbara based on the location where it will be planted.

Where are the cups designed and manufactured?

The cups are designed in San Louis Obispo. The seeds are mixed at Santa Barbara and the paper for the coffee cup is manufactured in San Diego. Then the two are assembled in San Louis Obispo.


This Kickstarter project has been getting a lot of attention. With the creativity it uses, we have less doubt on the success of the project. With over 146 billion coffee cups consumed annually, if we were to pick up of these plantable cups for our cup of coffee, we will be giving back to the environment and supporting a noble cause.

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