In the Netherlands, festivals account for 62.000.000 kilogrammes of waste each year. A large part of this waste is made out of plastic cups and only 1% of this waste heap is recycled. The Biocup means to solve this problem.
The following blog will tell you more about the Happy Cups, formerly know as the Biocup during its development process.
Happy Cups are produced locally as that is most beneficial for the environment since CO2 emission by transport is reduced. The natural resources and thereafter created PHA were previously imported out of China, but now come from Europe.
PHA, is short for polyhydroxyalkanoate. The naturally occurring polymer is a biodegradable alternative to plastic derived from fossil fuels. The material dissolves in the sea, in soil water and in the ground. What remains are CO2 and minerals, which are food supplements for microorganisms. Crops such as corn, cassava or sugar beet can be converted into PHA. This is done by allowing bacteria to eat the sugar-rich crops, these bacteria thereafter convert the sugars into long polymers (plastics) of PHA. These pieces of PHA are then collected to produce granulate, the building blocks of a BIOCUP!
MOULDING THE FUTURE
In the journey of becoming a Biocup, the PHA granulate is passed onto a moulding company. They turn the granulate into usable plastics such as a Happy Cups This is done by heating the PHA granulate and then moulding it into the right shape.
Van Hall Larenstein is researching the possibilities of making PHA and Happy Cups even more environmentally friendly. For example, by using wastewater as a source of organic material to feed the PHA-producing bacteria. So far, a Life Cycle Assessment has shown that PHA has less impact on the environment than PP-R, PET or PC plastics. It is not only sustainable, but also unique in the world!
JOURNEY TO A FESTIVAL
To make sure the BIOCUP can be used at events they need to be managed and distributed. This is done by Happy Cups b.v, they are the ones who take care of the BIOCUPS. They are now marketed under the name Happy Cups and are already available in large numbers and various colours.. Happy Cups b.v. ensures that the cups are recycled and reused. A new standard!
Happy Cups b.v. is part of a multi-stakeholder value chain that strive to increase a local and circular economy.
(RE-)USING THE BIOCUP
Let’s start using the Happy Cups. Let’s start making smarter choices for a cleaner planet. The cup is ready to be mass produced, but it just needs a home. The Happy Cup is fully biodegradable, fossil fuel-free, dishwasher friendly, suitable for hot and cold drinks; stackable, reusable, and lightweight. Altogether, it is a great solution to tackle the huge amounts of plastic generated by festivals each year.
Festival goers can be smart by reusing it as many times as possible and bringing it back for reuse. By cleaning the Happy Cups, these cups can last for years!
This text was written by Thomas Veen and Jos Bootsma as a part of their graduation project about Happy Cups (Formerly known as the Biocup)