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Hi Julie,

Have you thought of the material they are using to make disposable coffee cup?

"Making coffee drinking sustainable" is an independent project I am doing to apply Human Centred design and Design thinking process. Coffee (in Australia) is heavily consumed in take-away cups. Previously, these cups are made of paper with a thin plastic film to prevent leakage. Because of that plastic, it is very expensive to recycle them. An existing alternative has been Biodegradable cups, where the film is made of plant materials (check out biopark cups for info). Because of the materials they can be biodegraded in compost. Hence i think this material is one alternative for the packets.

However, I still dont think it is the best solution, hence: my current project.
1. While compostable, at the moment, the facility to collect and compost this material is limited. They ended up in landfill and cause methan emission similar to food waste.
2. The filter of what is degradable and what is not is difficult. And sometimes maybe only 95% of the materials are actually compostable. That 5% can contaminate the whole composting cycle and that means a small amount of plastic are incorporated into our agricultural soil. In accumulation, we will have a lot to deal with.

So in term of coffee, reuse is the best choice.
Then in Australia we starting to use Keep Cup (reusable cup by KeepCup).  While this cup is a commercial success, i think it is a fail model because people often forget to use them. I have identified some motivational and behavioural problems through interviews and observations. Unfortunate I haven't had time to write them up as a nice article yet. But if you are interested,please let me know and I can share some notes.

Overall, from this coffee story I think the elements to consider is not just materials, but the entire life cycle of this material, from creation to disposition, and from purchasing to using!