UK-based Biome Bioplastics has developed a new range of bio-based plastic materials for use in the manufacture of disposable cups, lids, and coffee pods.

Made from plant-based sources and tree by-products, the bioplastics seek to reduce waste and provide a more sustainable option to the retailers and packaging manufacturers, even under heat and other stresses.

Biome Bioplastics CEO Paul Mines said: “For such a simple product, disposing of a single coffee cup is a very complex problem.

“Coffee drinkers are acting in good faith when they see recycling logos on their takeaway coffees but most cups are lined with oil-based plastic and the lids made of polystyrene making recycling impossible, even when placed in the right bin.

“We need to also question how much fossil fuels go into coffee cups, given the reliance on petroleum-based plastic. When 2.5 billion takeaway cups are thrown away each year, and less than 1% are recycled, each cup adds up.”

“When 2.5 billion takeaway cups are thrown away each year, and less than 1% are recycled, each cup adds up."

According to the company, disposable cups made from its bio-based plastic material can be recycled both in paper recycling and food waste streams.

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When disposed of properly, the cups and lids are said to disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water within three months.

According to research carried out by consumer insight company Vision One, around two-thirds of consumers prefer cup lids to be made sustainably, while 53% are more likely to buy from shops using plant-based biodegradable cup products.

The research has also revealed that over 60% of people preferred plant-based biodegradable plastics over oil-based plastics.

Image: A disposable coffee cup made out of bio-based plastics. Photo: courtesy of Biome Bioplastics.