These plantable coffee cups offer seeds for thought and gardening

Posted May 23, 2015 by Megan Hamilton
We Americans love our coffee. In fact, we love it so much that on average, we drink more than three cups daily, and that means 400 million cups for the whole population per day.
A worker holds coffee beans at a farm in Cuatro Esquinas town near Managua  Nicaragua  on January 16...
A worker holds coffee beans at a farm in Cuatro Esquinas town near Managua, Nicaragua, on January 16, 2013
Hector Retamal, AFP/File
Now imagine how much trash in the form of disposable coffee cups is created daily.
Cardboard cups aren't a big deal because they can be recycled, but what about styrofoam cups? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 25 billion styrofoam cups are thrown out in the U.S. each year, and it takes more than 500 years for this waste to decompose, The Mind Unleashed reports.
That's where these cups, developed by a company called Reduce. Reuse. Grow., come in. They are an answer to this huge mess, Science Alert reports.
The California-based start-up says that you can bury this environmentally-friendly coffee cup, which has seeds embedded in its fibers, once you've finished your coffee. The nicest thing about these cups is that when you buy one, it comes with seeds that are native to your region.
Recycling is a feel good thing for most of us, but it doesn't completely solve the problem, Earth Porm reports. Instead, it merely slows it down. Once a product, like, say, a coffee cup, has been broken down three or so times, it's no longer useful to recycle it because it doesn't have enough fibers left. That's how billions of coffee cups wind up in landfills, even if they were recycled to begin with.
These cups can be planted in your own yard, out in rural landscapes, community gardens, and many other places. Even if you don't want to replant your cup, there will be bins in participating locations where you can toss them. Earth Porm notes this is a chance to give back to nature, rather than cutting trees and destroying forests to make coffee cups. More than 140,000 containers have been planted already.
Plantable coffee cups biodegrade within 180 days and come with native flowers and trees.
Having launching a campaign on KickStarter, Reduce. Reuse. Grow. also plans to get this started in San Francisco and Colorado as well. People there will have the chance to purchase the cups at participating locations. If plans go without a hitch, plantable coffee cups that become trees will be offered by the summer of 2015.
Planting the cups is easy. Just unravel the used cup and soak it in water for five minutes. Then plant it in your preferred location, The Mind Unleashed reports.
The company plans to use this process with to-go containers, shipping boxes, and other paper products, Earth Porm reports.