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This Foldable Coffee Cup Wants Us To Ditch Plastic Lids for Good

Three paper cups in different sizes sit atop a table, in front of some greenery

Single-use plastics are finally starting to disappear from the market, as countries like Canada, China, India, Japan, and more implement single-use plastic bans and regulations

But — humans still crave their to-go orders and morning coffee, and sometimes you just forget to grab the travel mug on the way out the door.

So, what’s the alternative? We’ve all experienced the sensory nightmare of drinking from a disintegrating plastic straw, and strawless plastic and paper cups are often still made with materials and chemicals that harm the planet

The Good Cup (great name, if we do say so ourselves!) is on its way to edging out the plastic to-go cup industry.

What is The Good Cup?

Designed by Cyril Drouet, a packaging design expert, and co-founder of Hong Kong-based sustainable packaging startup Choose Planet A, The Good Cup is a foldable, recyclable vessel that acts as a mini takeout container for hot and cold drinks.

The Good Cup sits unfolded on a counter, next to an espresso machine.
The foldable lid on the cup locks into place to prevent spills. Photo courtesy of The Good Cup

Recently featured on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” the cup eliminates the need for a separate lid, as the folding design features a notch that locks into place to maintain that on-the-go reliability — without crowding landfills.

Drouet spent years perfecting the design, knowing other “paper” cups use a plastic lining, and aren’t always accessible to use.

The Good Cup is fully recyclable and repulpable, made with compostable paper and recyclable bio-based coating. It can be composted at home or sent to recycling facilities — where the paper can be recycled up to seven times before heading back to the Earth.

The Good Cup is placed in a blue recycling bin.
The Good Cup can be easily recycled or composted. Photo courtesy of The Good Cup

It’s also shaped differently than a standard cylindrical cup, taking on a more rectangular shape that curves up and contours a person’s face as they sip on their beverage of choice.

Although the convenient drinking experience sounds great, the Good Cup’s impact on plastic waste is what takes the cake (er… the oat milk latte). 

If one million 12-ounce Good Cups are used, the brand calculates 4,325 kilograms of plastic would be saved (that’s nearly 10,000 pounds). Consider one billion Good Cups, and the world sees a reduction of 4,325,000 kilograms (or nearly 10 million pounds) of plastic. 

Where can I get The Good Cup? 

“The product is meeting the moment,” a press release for The Good Cup said, “as governments across the globe are already banning — or are planning to ban — plastic-lined cups and lids.” 

Of course, those single-use plastic bans haven’t made their way to the United States quite yet (you can do it, Joe!), so The Good Cup currently exists mainly in distribution chains in Canada, Japan, Australia, China, and the UK. 

“The interest in The Good Cup has been exceeding even our most optimistic expectations,” Drouet said in an email to Good Good Good. “The biggest considerations were that a sustainable cup such as this is something the world needed and we believe is finally ready for.”

Drouet’s been ready for over 16 years now, when his light-bulb moment at the GLASTONBURY music festival in the UK spurred the idea of decreasing paper and plastic cup waste at major events. 

The idea took shape throughout various moments in his career, but it wasn’t until 2019 when he started his own green design studio that he got serious about the invention, beginning a journey of over 1,000 tests and hand-made samples.

A Black man drinks out of The Good Cup
The square profile of the cup makes it easier for holding and drinking. Photo courtesy of The Good Cup

“Previous attempts at creating integrated lids have not been consumer-friendly, and in many cases, were unsafe, due to the potential of the cups opening up and spilling extremely hot beverages on customers,” Drouet explained.

The Good Cup is not only a solid, consumer-safe option — its design is versatile, so it can be used for anything that might be packaged in a cup and sealed with a plastic lid. (Soup, anyone?!) 

While the newly designed cup is making its foray into hundreds of coffee shops worldwide, the brand and its designers continue to conduct consumer trials to better adapt the design to meet the needs of customers. 

Drouet said The Good Cup is on its fourth generation, which now includes various “spout” designs, varnishes to prevent stains, and improved accessibility.

“Accessibility has been at the forefront of The Good Cup design,” Drouet said. “All the other cups on the market have a circular profile, which is tricky to hold in large sizes if you have a small hand. The Good Cup has a rectangular profile on the top, meaning it’s extremely ergonomic.” 

Other accessibility factors include the need for straws, and The Good Cup is working to perfect sustainable straw options, too, working with European company Hello Straw, which also uses a bio-based coating for a “less soggy” experience.

A person holds an open Good Cup filled with coffee.
The Good Cup hopes to expand to U.S. markets by 2024. Photo courtesy of The Good Cup

Drouet said The Good Cup fields over 100 requests from different coffee shops and cafes asking for samples of the cups globally every day, and he hopes Americans will see The Good Cup in their own local coffee shops by 2024.

“Our goal and mission is to eradicate plastic in disposable cups globally,” Drouet said. “The market is ready, the consumers are even more ready — now we need the industry to adapt and change from the things they have been doing for decades.”

Header image courtesy of The Good Cup

Article Details

May 5, 2023 1:12 PM
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