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NoriroN seaweed-based, biodegradable cup + lining

A leak-proof, pulp fiber cup for hot and cold drinks that is fully biodegradable with significant pulp recoverability.

Photo of theresa santoso
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Idea Title

NoriroN seaweed-based, biodegradable cup + lining

Idea Summary

A leak-proof, pulp fiber cup for hot and cold drinks that is fully biodegradable with significant pulp recoverability. The lining is a combination of seaweed and other all natural ingredients.

Website (if applicable)


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

To test the integrity of the seaweed-based lining, an uncoated raw pulp cup was used. We found that the NoriroN lining completely sealed the porous material at 100 deg C temperature for 10 days.

The solution consists of a pulp fiber cup and lining which innovates upon the existing fiber cup and plastic lining by using raw materials and a manufacturing process that results in a fully biodegradable product that maximizes recoverability. The cup can be made with the same raw materials as current fiber coffee cups (minus the plastic lining), but the design of the cup is new- it features a perforated lip at the top that when ripped, flattens the cup to accelerate the biodegrading process. The clear lining of the cup, which is suitable for use with hot and cold liquids, is composed of a combination of seaweed and x. This lining, which is adhered to the cup through a proprietary process, is an excellent sealant material. Tests demonstrate that boiling water at 212 degrees F can be poured into the cup, left to cool and remain for 10 days without any leakage. This same cup can be used again with boiling water with no significant sealant expansion. No fungus or mold was observed and no change of color occurred in the liner in this time period. The estimated time it takes for this solution to fully biodegrade is approximately one year. 1 encouraging fact is that there is no fungus and mold buildup observed;no change of color of the sealant/liner. the application of sealing and drying is pivotal. All ingredients are approved for human consumption and affordable to produce. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup

How is your concept recoverable?

Polylactic acid (PLA) is currently the most commonly used lining material for compostable cups. While PLA is biodegradable, the time it takes to do so under non-ideal condition of a landfill can be in the range of tens to hundreds of years. PLA is also derived from fermented plant starch, usually from corn which at least in the US, is genetically modified. The future cost of genetic modification to health and environment is still unknown. By using a seaweed-based lining that is fully biodegradable in a short amount of time, a significant portion of the pulp from these fiber cups can be recovered and used for various purposes. Noriron Cup is completely recoverable because the formula ingredients are of esculent grade and biodegradable starting from the raw pulp cup to the formula ingredients and the sealing process, the whole procedure do not generate new reaction that is harmful or non degradable. With a small tear on the cup, the process of dissolving Noriron Cup works faster

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

The seaweed based lining is composed of completely compostable and biodegradable materials. Seaweed is a renewable resource that can be easily farmed in bodies of water under a wide variety of conditions. This lining can also be made out of various species of seaweed, including types that can be harvested from areas where they are considered invasive, simultaneously helping to restore the local ecosystem.

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

The solution could be globally applicable. In particular, we believe that our solution is particularly ideal for regions of the world that don’t have sufficient commercial composting or recycling facilities, which is the majority of communities around world. The lining and cup are designed to be recyclable or compostable without the use of industrial facilities, making this solution ideal for large markets, whether that be the U.S., India or Indonesia.

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

Our target market is worldwide single-use cup application in any establishments that serve cold and hot drinks. In order to ensure that used Noriron cups are collected separately from refuse made of other material, the cups would be printed with a unique bar-code and the collection bin would be equipped with a bar code reader. The lid on the bin would only open upon detecting the correct code. Once collected, the used cups can be subjected to one of the following recovery options: 1. Recycling of the pulp material by first dissolving the liner in boiling water under low pressure. 2. Converting the cups into soil after composting 3. Turning the pulp-based cups into cattle feed

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

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

We need access to scientific expertise and facilities that would allow us to further test the properties of the lining across various conditions. We know that the lining is safe for use with food and beverages (hot and cold), but need to establish more precise parameters around use. We have initial sketches of the cup to be used with the lining and are in the process of creating an initial prototype, but could benefit for consulting with a sustainability product designer. R&D support is really key here.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

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

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

Our team consists of a designer and inventor with experience in developing sustainable, all natural products, ranging from eco-friendly purses to all-natural baked goods and an entrepreneur with experience working at the intersection of science&tech

In what city are you located?

Roseville, CA

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

Becoming Top Idea would provide us with the following opportunities: Completing the final work of testing for biodegradability under various conditions. Further development and improvement of cup liner formulation Initial experiments at piloting and scaling up of liner material production Working with Consortium Partner and post challenge business accelerator will help identify the shortcomings in this solutions and accelerate further development.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • In the news


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi theresa santoso ,

A friendly reminder the deadline to edit your submission is toady, November 16 @ 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please ensure all desired information, photos, videos, etc. is included in your submission by that deadline. Email nextgencup@ideo.comwith any questions.

Photo of theresa santoso

Hi Lauren,
thanks for this notice,!
what s pity, I was not able to attach the short video , hopefully the phitos are good enough!

Photo of theresa santoso

Hi Lauren, I just read more sbout the publicly viewable and the non publically v. . Is it true that out of the non publicly 6 are taken for collaborators and 40 out of the publically v?
May I switch to the non publically?

Photo of Lauren Ito

I'm not sure where you received those umbers, but that is not true. All concepts in pubic and nonpublic will be evaluated together and selection will happen without differentiating between the two tracks.

Photo of theresa santoso

Thanks Lauren, I feel better ��

Photo of theresa santoso

Our testing showed that the NoriroN liner provide protection to the pulp cup for at least a few days after boiling water was poured into it.

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