West company leads the way in recycled, reusable coffee cups
A Cornish company led by a designer who used to work for Dyson is leading the UK market when it comes to making and selling items made from recycled paper cups and other throw-away items.
Now the company, called ashortwalk, has launched a reusable coffee cup for the UK market, which is leak-proof and will last for ten years.
The rCUP is the first receptacle of its kind to be sold in this country from recycled paper cups – and its manufacture could soon be moving to Cornwall, according to company founder Dan Dicker.
Staff at the Perranporthbased company are passionate about creating products made from waste materials for a more sustainable future and already sell diverse items such as tide-clocks made from recycled UK waste and house name-plaques made from recycled plant pots.
Dan left his job as an inventor and designer at Dyson in 2003, “to create products from recycled materials, in the UK, a short walk from the sea.”
The rCUP is his most recent invention and has been designed with practical portability in mind.
He told the WMN: “From a functional perspective con- verting used cups into a polymer means you have a far more robust product than, say, a china cup. From an environmental perspective there are two reasons we chose cups – it meant we could capture a single-use product and turn it back into something that can be used for years and then eventually reused.
“This conversion from a linear to circular model is arguably far more beneficial to the environment than using a linear china cup, where eventually those resources and energy used within that cup will end up being lost.
“Finally and importantly, making the rCUP from cups provides living proof to the public that a seemingly worthless used paper cup has value.”
He added: “Functionality is everything. That’s why we’ve designed rCUP to be completely leak proof. You can carry rCUP anywhere without spilling a drop and pop it into your bag with confidence.”
Dan points out that here in the UK we throw away seven million coffee cups a day – with less than 1% being recycled.
The Cornish company began collaborating with environmental charity Hubbub and recycling company Simply Cups on The Square Mile Challenge – a City of London initiative launched in April 2017 – which aimed to collect and recycle half a million disposable coffee cups in a single month. In the end more than half a million coffee cups were collected – all of which were recycled into something new.
“The life span of the rCUP is ten years, at which point it can be recycled,” said Dan – a fact which caused him to mention this week’s Budget...
“The 25p ‘latte levy’ wasn’t introduced by the Chancellor in this Budget as some people had anticipated – but with some high-street coffee shops imposing a paper cup charge earlier this year of up to 50p per hot drink, the rCUP (rrp £12) will have paid for itself within 24 uses.
“Starbucks introduced a 5p paper cup charge earlier this year, which saw the number of consumers using a reusable cup in stores located across London shoot up by 156% in just six weeks – a huge step in the right direction.”
Dan Dicker and his recycled, leakproof, reusable coffee cups