IDC designs UK`s first reusable coffee cup made from vegetable oil

Designboom_ London-based circular system Reuser is targeting the removal of all single waste packaging with its new reusable coffee cup that mixes used vegetable oil and crop waste. The company partnered with product design agency IDC and Brighton-based injection molding firm Naiad Plastics to materialize its vision, becoming the first UK adopters of a new bio-plastic made from renewable feedstock.

Reuser stands apart from your average off-the-shelf reusable cup, implementing an end-to-end system that systemically tackles the impact of food and drink packaging at source, removing the customer lead approach that has fallen short of providing a net zero alternative,’ explains the company.

The narrative that recyclable materials and the elimination of single-use plastic is sufficient in catering and hospitality has long since expired. An estimated 500,000 cups litter the UK every day, often in the form of mixed material waste preventing the ability to recycle. In light of this, the Reuser team decided to actively prevent over 30,000 single-use cups and containers from entering landfill through partnering London sites.

Partnering sites avoid the distribution and demand for disposable cups and packaging and facilitate the uptake of a ‘reusable’ approach instead. The sites also act as drop-off locations that will clean cups and lids before putting them back into circulation. After a cup eventually reaches the end of its life, mechanical and chemical recycling ensures it can re-enter the production process from the beginning in the form of feedstock.

That said, UK-based agency IDC assisted in designing and developing the cup lids, addressing challenges with core functionality, durability, mass production, and reducing unit cost. In addition, through sister company Naiad Plastics, IDC became the first agency to use the ‘Bornewables’ Bio-PP, which starts its life as a crop bi-product, algae, or used vegetable oil, before being refined into pellets for injection molding.

It is often easy to lose accountability through manufacturing and mass production, as each stage looks to pass on the impact they create. But through the Borealis circular network and the ability to retain precious carbon in the system, it is now possible to ensure all plastic is traceable to the point of origin and fully ISCC PLUS certified.

Andrew Matthews, founder of Reuser, states: ‘In 2021, I chose to dedicate my life towards a vision and a mission that I am truly passionate about – eliminating single-use waste and improving our environment. To do this, I founded Reuser – a company whose mission is to end single-use takeaway packaging waste via a digitally enabled reusable packaging service. I believe we must transition away from our single-use culture to a reusable culture – and I believe technology can help us get there.’