New Zealand-based online retailer Twiice has recently launched single-use coffee cups that are both biodegradable and edible.
Twiice director Jamie Cashmore said it took four years to create the product and the company only felt ready to launch it to the public recently. They are now offering pre-orders on their website and have stocked one cafe, Freaky Cafe on Wakefield Street in Auckland.
Plastic pollution has been a major problem worldwide for years. Tonnes of plastics are estimated to wind up in the ocean each year. A United Nations report has even identified this as a major global health risk.
Twiice’s coffee cups avoid this waste issue by being compostable, meaning they degrade into soil within days. But Cashmore is hoping people will just eat them instead.
“Every cup eaten is one saved from the landfill,” he said.
The cups, which are made of a firm biscuit substance formulated by Cashmore and his wife Simone and his parents, taste like cookies and are baked in a way that sogginess is not a problem.
“We have developed a method to make the cups over the last four years,” he said. “It’s this method that makes the cups able to take hot drinks.”
The business is currently based in Auckland, but Cashmore said they are planning to branch out in a month or so.
“We’ve only been open three weeks and are accepting pre-orders on our website,” he said.
Cashmore said they can’t stock more coffee shops for another four weeks because they are still waiting for the packaging.
“We are currently waiting on our wholesale packaging which should arrive in a month or so. Then we’ll be able to ship all over New Zealand.”
Cashmore said he and his family started the business in 2015 and it took them four years to finish the product.
“There’s a variety of things going on in the market around coffee cups, with a range of compostable, reusable (with a deposit), and now edible products becoming available in the market,” he said. “They are awesome products, but likely to be fairly niche for the moment.”
Cashmore said the new cups could soon enter the mainstream and might help wean consumers off their plastic habit.