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Cuppa Verdant (Areca Cup)

Areca cup are 100% biodegradable cups made from areca palm leaves and tree products

Photo of Ashwini Lahane
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Idea Title

Idea Summary

100% biodegradable cups made from areca palm leaves and tree products

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

The concept for this cup is simple and it's built using areca palm leaves and nut wastes which abundantly grow in the multiple states in southwestern states of India as well other countries. The areca cups are 100% biodegradable and easily decomposes naturally if released into the environment. In fact, it can make excellent fertilizer for plants. All raw material would be locally and sustainably sourced. 

There are multiple benefits to this solution:
1. Consumers (primary users) - Will be able to enjoy their hot or cold beverage just the same and be happy about being part of a sustainable ecosystem and contributing to a reduction in global carbon footprint.
2. Adopters (beverage companies/ cafes) - Will benefit by finding low cost, compostable solution for their daily cups/other packaging material needs. Also helps establish themselves as a "greener" brand.
3. Local farmers - Will benefit financially from being able to earn income from farm-waste material and become more cautious about how they currently discard these (usually burn up piles of dried leaves impacting air quality)

Our vision is to provide job opportunities to local women and differently enabled individuals. We want to provide essential training that enables women entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses in their own communities. We're building a business plan that will keep the production equipment used for these cups at the minimal while providing jobs to the lower income household. We are working towards a model where these challenged individuals can help with the sourcing of raw material and the pre-production stage at their convenience.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Hot Cup Only
  • Cold Cup Only
  • Cup Lids

How is your concept recoverable?

The areca cups are 100% biodegradable and are made from areca leaves and nuts waste materials. The cup can decompose if released into the environment. In fact, it can make excellent fertilizer for plants.

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

The solution relies on ethically and 100% naturally produced raw material. Our next phase would include getting required certifications

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

This solution is intended for use on a global scale. The solution can be easily applied to any region where palm trees grow or have an equivalent fibrous plant/crop. This grossly reduces the cost and contamination from transporting the material.

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

There are multiple benefits to this solution: 1. Consumers (primary users) - Will be able to enjoy their hot or cold beverage just the same and be happy about being part of a sustainable ecosystem and contributing to a reduction in global carbon footprint. 2. Adopters (beverage companies/ cafes) - Will benefit by finding low cost, compostable solution for their daily cups/other packaging material needs. Also helps establish themselves as a "greener" brand. 3. Local farmers - Will benefit financially from being able to earn income from farm-waste material and become more cautious about how they currently discard these (usually burn up piles of dried leaves impacting air quality)

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?

Scaling and market access. We have prototyped the cups and current levels of test have proven to be promising. Moulding the cups into any desired size is easy. Next phase: 1. We need to continue with lab tests and making the product look a little aesthetically appealing. 2. Need support to scale this to a production level facility. The ground work/research has been done. 3. We would need help in getting market access, making sure we confirm to all the regulations such as FDA etc. and the logistics to ship these cups internationally.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Supply Chain
  • Growth and Scaling
  • Fundraising / Finance

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

Ashwini (right) - I'm a computer engineer turned product marketer. Originally from India but currently working in the silicon valley (Palo Alto, CA). Jagruti (left) - I'm

In what city are you located?

Mountain View

In what country are you located?

USA

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

Will be setting up LLC shortly (in India and/or in USA as required)

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

We have a prototype that has been tested (locally) and have researched the parameters involved in starting production at scale. We have a fair understanding of the machinery and have a support system (man-power) in India where the raw material can be sources easily and the cups mass-produced at a significantly lower cost. The production can easily be extended to other container types. Becoming a Top Idea will help us reach to the next level.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

3 comments

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Photo of Trevor Shields
Team

Fantastic! Did you have any luck experimenting with the colors of the cup exterior?

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