Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University


Ecoffee Cup

Ditch the disposable for the Loughborough Cup.

The Loughborough cup is an ecoffee Cup, here’s how it’s made…

The Ecoffee Cup is made with naturally sustainable bamboo fibre, combined with corn starch to form a paste (80%) which is then mixed with a resin. In order to ensure the product is both durable and suitable for high temperatures required of it, the resin contains melamine in accordance with EU regulation No 10. 2011 to ensure food safety to the very highest standards.

About bamboo
Bamboo is a grass species that can grow up to a metre a week. When harvested, it re-shoots from its extensive root system and does not require replanting.

Yield and Land Use
As the world's seven billion people compete for water, food and shelter, land use is becoming an issue of global importance. Sustainable land use practices provide both economic and environmental advantages. Bamboo can be used as food, substrate and shelter, and due to its ease of growth, it is a cost-effective, sustainable and highly efficient crop. Because it is a grass, not a tree, bamboo grows very densely and its clumping nature enables a higher yield in a comparatively small area, easing land-use pressure. Yields of bamboo of up to 60 tonnes per hectare greatly exceed yield of 20 tonnes for most trees and only 1-2 tonnes per hectare for cotton - with a one-time planting for bamboo and little care and maintenance needed.

The Ecoffee cup bamboo is sourced from Anji County in Zhejiang province, China, one of the world’s oldest, sustainably managed forests. They have been commercially harvesting bamboo in this region for several hundred years. Specifically, our raw material is the waste generated from chopstick manufacture. The bamboo industry in Anji sustains 10,000 farming families and represents the new face of manufacturing in China: clean and sustainable.

Pesticides and fertilizers
A great benefit of using bamboo as the organic base for tbio-plastic fibres is that there is no need for pesticides or fertilisers when growing bamboo. This allows a natural eco-system of insects, birds and small animals to exist in harmony. Bamboo also contains a substance called bamboo-kun – an antimicrobial agent that gives the plant a natural resistance to pest and fungi infestation.

Greenhouse Gases
Growing forests absorb CO2, but increasing deforestation results in fewer trees to absorb rising levels of CO2.

Bamboo helps reduce CO2 and can generate up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year while one hectare of young forest only sequesters 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Planting bamboo can help slow deforestation, providing an alternative source of timber for the construction industry and cellulose fibre for homewares and other industries. The propagation of commercial bamboo plantations, which can be selectively harvested without destruction of the grove, allows communities to turn away from destruction of native forests. Conventional tree plantations have to be felled and root systems terminated at harvest, but because of bamboo’s continuous growth cycle, when it is felled, it reshoots and is ready for harvest again in as little as one year. Compare this to cotton - harvesting organic cotton requires the destruction of the entire crop causing bare soils to bake in the sun and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Before replanting next year’s crop, the cotton farmers till the fields which releases yet more CO2.

We have recently tested the durability of Ecoffee Cup ourselves to ensure that it will last, even with those mishaps we all tend to have, such as dropping it or when it falls out of our car in the morning. After dropping several times from two different heights on four different surfaces, we found that the cup is extremely durable. Although it can break when dropped, this depends on a number of things such as surface and angle. According to Ecoffee Cup, the cups “should last for years if treated well”. On the packaging it says not to put the cup in the microwave as this can cause weakness in material, however, both the cup and the silicone components are safe to go in the dishwasher. Ensure not to put sideways-pressure on Ecoffee Cup when carrying it around in your bag, as it can crush the cup.

Water Use
Anji bamboo does not require irrigation and there is sound evidence that the water-use efficiency of bamboo is twice that of trees. This makes bamboo more able to handle harsh weather conditions such as drought, flood and high temperatures. Compare bamboo to cotton which is a thirsty crop - it can take up to 20,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of cotton and 73% of the global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land. Some estimates indicate that cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities.

Soil erosion
Yearly replanting of crops such as timber and cotton can lead to soil erosion. The extensive root system of bamboo and the fact that it is not uprooted during harvest means bamboo helps preserve soil and prevent soil erosion. The bamboo plant root system creates an effective watershed, stitching the soil together along fragile river banks, deforested areas and in places prone to mudslides. It also greatly reduces rain run-off. Conventional cotton-growing also causes a severe reduction in soil quality through the impact of constant use of pesticides on soil organisms.

Ecoffee Cup - Production Process

Ecoffee cup process‌‌

The Lids and Sleeves
Ecoffee Cup lids and sleeves are made with highest quality, matte, food-grade silicone. They are designed for temperatures up to +120C˚. Silicone is made from silicon (silica or sand) and oxygen. Silicone is chemically inert and stable, meaning it will not react with or leach into food, nor outgas vapours. It is non-toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, nor is it hazardous waste. While it is not biodegradable, it can be recycled after a lifetime of use (subject to local council acceptance). Silicone is BPA and phthalate-free and has Europe (LFGB), Japan and US FDA food safe approval.

So the ecoffee cup is:


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