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Compostable anti-condensation PLA cup

A compostable translucent foamed PLA cup that can be used for iced coffee type of applications that solves the condensation issue

Photo of Floris Buijzen
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Idea Title

Compostable anti-condensation cold cup

Idea Summary

A Compostable translucent foamed PLA cup for iced coffee type of applications that solves the condensation issue of the existing solution

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Total Corbion PLA

Website (if applicable)

www.total-corbion.com

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

Our idea is to develop a compostable translucent PLA-based foam cold cup for iced coffee type of applications. This idea solves two problems of the currently available solution:

1. The current PET based solution can lead to condensation on the outside of the cup, due to the difference in temperature between the cold inside of the cup and the warm outside of the cup. The translucent foamed cup provides an excellent insulation barrier and prevents the condensation of water on the outside of the cup. Furthermore the outside of the cup will not become as cold as the current solution which is an advantage for the customers.

2. There is no end-of-life solution for the current PET based cups, as these are very contaminated with residuals of food waste. This renders the recycling process very difficult. A compostable solution does provide a suitable end-of-life option in which the cup including the residual food waste can be collected for organic recycling and industrially composted. 

Furthermore, because of the use of continuous foaming for this process a known disadvantage of the traditional bead foaming process of leakage is prevented.

The idea is focused on the cup itself, but can be extended to develop a compostable lid and straw so that the full cup is compostable. 

PLA is produced from renewable raw materials and is 100% biobased. Our PLA is produced from sugar from Thai sugarcane. Sustainable sourcing of raw materials is at the core of our business. Our vision and approach can be found in the whitepaper on sustainable sourcing of feedstocks for bioplastics (https://www.total-corbion.com/media/1082/170822_totalcorbionpla_whitepaper_12-web.pdf). 

PLA is a polymer that is approved for food contact applications throughout the world. We as Total Corbion PLA have all the required certifications and documentation that demonstrate compliance with the most important regulations, including food contact, REACH, chemical compliance and dangerous chemicals listings. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Cold Cup Only
  • Cup Lids
  • Straws

How is your concept recoverable?

It is meeting the industrial composting requirements so the cups can be collected for organic recycling.

How have you incorporated additional sustainability attributes (beyond recoverability) into your solution?

- Total Corbion PLA has published a whitepaper on Sustainable sourcing of feedstocks for Bioplastics (https://www.total-corbion.com/media/1082/170822_totalcorbionpla_whitepaper_12-web.pdf). - We are the first bioplastic producer to obtain Bonsucro chain-of-custody certification for our PLA. - Our PLA is 100% biobased (certified according to EN 16785-1).

What regions do you plan to address with your solution (and how will you accomplish this)?

We are active on a global level and are working with converters all over the world. Our production location is in Thailand, but we have warehouses in Europe and the US which enables us to supply to all major countries in the world. This solution can only work in regions in the world that have organic recycling infrastructure in place.

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Consumers of iced coffee type of drinks will benefit from our solution in two ways: - No condensation on the outside of the cup - Insulated cup to keep the outside of the cup at room temperature

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Corporate Submission

What are the biggest challenges you are facing today? What are existing gaps in your solution?

PLA-foam is available commercially and is meeting compostability requirements. Developing a PLA-based foam that is translucent instead of white will be the largest challenge.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Floris Buijzen is the product market manager for Total Corbion PLA, a 50/50 JV between Total and Corbion in the field of Polylactic acid. We have a lot of experience in developing PLA-based solutions.

In what city are you located?

Gorinchem

In what country are you located?

Netherlands

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

B.V. (Ltd.)

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

We will use the funding provided to develop a process and formulation to produce PLA-foam that is translucent whilst meeting the compostability requirements. Furthermore the program gives us direct exposure to two very large brand owners which will help a lot to commercialize the idea.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • In the news

1 comment

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Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Floris Buijzen 

Great to see you filling out your submission. I did want to make sure you knew your submission is currently in draft form. Was this your intention? We recommend making your ideas public as soon as possible so our community can provide feedback and engage with your idea so you can continue editing the submission until the final deadline.

Please click "publish" on your idea at the top of the page!