Published: March 4, 2015


“A coffee cup that has native seeds embedded within the material to be used for reforestation in your local communities”.

Reduce. Reuse. Grow. was founded during a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, landscape architecture senior project. The thought of “throwing away” items which would later be sent into local landfills always seemed like a strange concept and ultimately a huge design flaw within or current consumption day to day actions. So, Cal Poly student Alex Henige decided to investigate and attempt to redesign this action by designing a product which could ultimately solve these irresponsible habits.

Where does our trash actually go?  With our current waste stream, as consumers none of us really know.  In America we discard over 146 billion cups from coffee consumption annually.  Even when we think we are recycling and doing a good deed, the paper itself within these products can only be reused 2-3x before the fibers are unusable and discarded into local landfills without consumer’s knowing.

They have developed a post consumer paper based cup which will be able to extract over 1 ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually once planted.  They have taken those fibers from local recycling centers, which would usually be too rough to implement back into a packaging product, and created a cup that they are happy to truly name the most eco friendly disposable coffee cup.  If you decide to throw away and not plant, no problem.  The cup is compost certified and will be able to biodegrade within 180 days leaving the seeds and cup itself to turn into nutrients for other plants to enjoy!

The consumer drinks their coffee from the coffee shop.  If they choose to take the cup with them, they can plant it in several scenarios based off of the seed variety embedded within the cup.

They can see the seed variety displayed on the front of their cup as well as planting instructions on the bottom of the cup.  Unravel the cup, soak in water for 5 minutes and watch grow!

If the consumer decides to discard the cup, they can place the cup in a special trash can where Reduce. Reuse. Grow. (or third parties) can come in and take the cups for local reforestation purposes.

Reforestation locations can be anything from small community projects to State or National parks where fires, over grazing or other habitat destruction has happened and additional native planting are needed in order to replenish those areas!