Gourd cups could one day squash the competition

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In Brooklyn, architect and designer Jun Aizaki is growing cups using gourds and a 3D-printed mold. Dubbed HyO-Cups, the containers can be used up to six times and are completely biodegradable.

“People have been using gourds as containers for like, centuries and it’s just something that’s available, it’s been used, you know, in different cultures, everywhere in the world. And yeah, we thought that was, you know, something that we could use,” Aizaki tells Reuters.

HyO-Cups are meant to replace coffee cups, which are often non-recyclable because of a waterproofing liner.

“The issue of waste is something that we’ve been, you know, very interested in and involved in,” he adds. “So, we started looking at these, you know, the use of plastic cups in general. And this was like years and years ago, like we’ve been working on this project for, you know, four to five years. And we just wanted to see if there’s a way to use design as, you know, a solution to try to tackle that issue.”

The cups take six months to grow, and Aizaki’s team is currently cultivating 400 cups at a Pennsylvania farm.