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BioCup and Lid

BioCups and lids are 100% plant-based, recyclable and compostable.

Photo of Richard Fine
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Idea Title

BioCups and lids for sustainable coffee to go

Idea Summary

BioCups and lids are designed for the circular economy, made using a compostable plant-based bioplastic instead of conventional plastic. The cups are both recyclable and compostable.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)


Website (if applicable)

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

BioCups utilise all the same production equipment and processes required to produce conventional PE plastic coated cups. PE is instead replaced with a PLA bioplastic derived from plant starch.

This is a proven solution and PLA coated paper cups have been produced at scale since 2009. Similarly, the cup lids are made from a heat stable compostable PLA bioplastic. Both cups and lids are independently certified commercially compostable to European, Australian and American standards. Cups and lids are all tested to comply with FDA food contact safety standards. The production facility is HACCP, BRC and ISO 22000 certified. After use the cups can be either be recycled where facilities with the capability to recycle poly coated board exist or the cups and lids can be composted in a commercial compost facility. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Cup Lids
  • Straws
  • Cup Sleeve
  • Cup Liner
  • All of the Above

How is your concept recoverable?

The BioCup is certified compostable to all international standards and is recoverable in the green waste stream in a growing number of locations globally. The cup is also more easily recyclable as the PLA coating separates from the fibers easier than a PE coating. The PLA coating sinks and is therefore easier to remove from the pulp. One of the issues regarding recoverability of paper cups for paper recycling is that the residues inside the cup contaminate the clean paper stream. Composting does not require separation of lids and cups prior to disposal, all items go into the same bin along with any food scraps and beverage residue. There are more commercial compost facilities globally than paper recycling facilities. The cups act as a carbon source in the composting process and do not have any adverse impact on the quality of the compost.

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

PLA bioplastic has a much lighter environmental impact than petroleum-based plastics derived from non-renewable resources, which are hazardous and toxic during production, and contribute to massive amounts of environmental pollution. Paper is sourced only from certified managed plantation. Water or soy based inks certified to compost standards are used to print the cups. Throughout their production and disposal, BioCups use less energy and water, BioCups are carbon neutral.

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

This is a global solution. Our cup production facility has the capacity to produce 4 billion cups per year. The technology is not proprietary and all cup manufacturers have access to the materials. PLA coated cups are currently available globally. Regions of largest consumption should be targeted first. USA has 442 commercial compost facilities UK has more than 150 commercial compost facilities BioPak has a global distribution network available

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

The target market is QSRs and outdoor events where beverages are served and consumed on the go. This will benefit the planet as well as consumers and brand owners looking to reduce their environmental impact and use of plastic packaging. It simplifies disposal and recycling by allowing all food waste and compostable foodservice packaging to be disposed of in a single bin. It also reduces the need to transport waste long distances to be recycled. User experience remains unchanged. Compostable paper cups have been produced in significant volumes at different cup production facilities since 2008. Cups and lids are being composted at a number of commercial compost facilities globally.

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?

The cups are already produced at scale. The biggest challenges are the higher cost compared to conventional plastic lids long with limited availability of organics collection and commercial composting infrastructure. The problem with composting infrastructure is not unique as poly coated paper recycling infrastructure is almost non existent.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Waste and Infrastructure

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

I have been involved in plastic packaging for 30 years. BioPak was established in 2006 and BioCups introduced to the Australian market in 2009. We currently distribute in excess of 30 million BioCups every month throughout Australia and New Zealand.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


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

Pty LTD B Corp

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

When the biggest QSRs adopt a compostable cup, it sends a clear message to the market that this is the future of disposable foodservice packaging. We would continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to expand the composting infrastructure and improve access to organic recycling. We’d educate consumers on how to correctly dispose of these products. Our goal is to replace plastic single use foodservice disposables with compostable alternatives made from rapidly renewable, sustainable material

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • In the news


Join the conversation:

Photo of Koldun Victor

An ordinary cardboard cup breaks down in the natural environment roughly in a year or thereabout. Approximately how the fallen leaves does, consisting of the same cellulose. In order for the new material for the production of cups to become a cost effective replacement of cardboard, it should decompose order faster, somewhere in a month, maybe two or three. This is at an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (according to NASA). But when we pour water near a boiling point, at a temperature of 95 degrees, into such cup , according to the rule of Svante August Arrhenius, all the chemical processes in it, including the self-decay of complex molecules, respectively, accelerate. The minimum acceleration will be somewhere 250 times, and the maximum will be about 65,000 times. That is, for a disposable cup that has been filled for at least an hour, and this is a real situation somewhere on a picnic, there is all the chances to pour out their content on the table at best , at worst, on himself or his electronic devices. Even if this cup was made a few days before that and was stored in a stock in perfect conditions.
Therefore, the question arises - how do you deal with such issue?

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