South African party cup company goes green with switch to biobased

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In South Africa, entrepreneur Luvuyo Ndiki is launching biodegradable cups made from sugarcane and corn starch.

Ndiki, who previously sold the red plastic cups that are ubiquitous at outdoor events, says his motivation to switch to a biobased solution was growing concern over plastics pollution. “Most of the time when I was selling my product the customers would ask me how they could recycle their cups and I realized that I wanted to do something that was for the future,” he tells Cape Times. “It’s just more conscious to create biodegradable products, especially looking at the issue of plastic in our environment.”

His company now sells cups made using polylactic acid filament and thermoplastic aliphatic polyester to 3D print the cups. The new cups will take less than six months for them to break down in the environment, he adds. “They will cost a bit more, but the plan is we want to manufacture in large numbers so we can save money.”

He said he hoped to venture into other products like biodegradable straws.