Recupero Solutions is an on-site, small-scale manufacturing system that shows the recycling process as a consumer experience. It takes all the advantages of the fiber cups used today and incorporates new technologies in waste management to create a cup and lid that is more environmentally friendly. Participating businesses can feed their packaging cardboard and paper into the grinder to save on resources. Location specific plant fibers can also be added that would normally go into the trash and businesses can use the coffee grinds that are used throughout the day. The machine grinds up all the material including recovered cups then adds water to create a pulp slurry. The slurry is vacuum formed into the shape of the cups in three sizes (small, medium, and large) along with the lids much like how pulp egg cartons are made. The resulting products are then dried and saturated with an organic food safe compound to create a hydrophobic coating that prevents break down during normal use. The cups are then able to be used immediately or stacked for storage.
Since the cups and lids are made of pulp, they will naturally break down when returned to local waste management systems. However, customers are incentivized to place cups back into the store’s collection system (either directly into the hopper for grinding or a separate collection container) with an electronic sensor system that will distribute points or rewards to their membership through contributors’’ phones. The collected cups are washed before being placed into the grinder to be used as materials to make other cups.
After initial startup, the store would save on the cost of materials due to in house manufacturing. This method of manufacturing can be adapted to a large scale process and cups can be ordered with the same features and characteristics for locations that are unable to manufacture in house.
The Recupero system promotes user awareness by showing customers how cups are made, the resources used for each cup, and how throwing cups away takes up space that could be saved.