Disposable cups made from mould-grown gourds

Jun Aizaki, the founder of New York-based design studio Crème Design, and his team created HyO, a prototype disposable cup made from a gourd grown inside a 3D printed mould.

Take-away coffee usually comes in a paper cup, billions of which are used every day. While paper in itself is recyclable, paper cups are lined with polyethylene to make them waterproof. This makes cups difficult to recycle, something conventional recycling plants can’t handle. As a result, the vast majority of coffee cups ends up on the landfill.

HyO (pronounced hi-o) is a derivative of the Japanese word hyotan, which means gourd. Gourds have traditionally been used across the globe as vessels, both functional and decorative.

Crème brings back this century old craft, using the modern technique of 3D printing to create cup-shaped moulds, in any shape or size.

The reusable mould is placed around a young gourd. As the gourd grows, it takes on the shape of the mould. When the gourd has matured, it is harvested, cured and dried. Finally, the gourd is hollowed to form a vessel. After use, the cup is completely biodegradable.

As examples, Crème created a stackable gourd cup mimicking the silhouette of a classic faceted glass cut and a carafe with a lip detail.

The only disadvantage of the gourd cup is that gourds take around 100 days to mature, so it’s a slow process. Crème is working on optimising the process in a controlled indoor environment where they aim to scale up the production.

For more sustainable disposable cups, click here.

Photos: Crème Design