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Just Earth Papers Releases A Better Alternative To 295 Million Takeaway Coffee Cups

Two self-confessed “Boomers” from Christchurch have spent three and a half years perfecting an alternative coffee cup that is 100% paper and free of plastic and made in New Zealand.

The Kiwi coffee-cup addiction has been making headlines lately. As Seven Sharp reported on Tuesday, the BYO coffee cup trend that looked promising during Covid has dropped back, with most Kiwis preferring the convenience of a throwaway takeaway.

Air New Zealand throws away 9 million cups each year on its flights and has recently been trailing a single-use alternative on some domestic flights. Just Earth Papers are adamant supporters of reusable cups - but, as the article highlights, the switch is not a quick fix and Air New Zealand admit they are not even looking at reusable cups for international flights at this stage. And, after all, reusable plastic cups are still eventually destined for landfill.

Unlike current alternatives that advertise themselves as compostable, Just Earth’s 100% paper cup can go directly into your home compost. Other “compostable” cups on the market must be collected and sent to a specialised commercial compost facility. Even though they break down, they still contain a plastic lining that releases microplastics into the environment.

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Only a fraction of “compostable” cups are actually composting, meaning the majority of those 295 million cups are sent to landfill, where they release plastics and put money into the pockets of large, foreign owned landfill owners.

Just Earth Papers was founded by Stewart Andrews and Rob Meates.

“My daughter was always reminding me that my generation has screwed up the planet and we aren’t doing much about it,” Stewart says. “When Rob approached me with this idea, I saw it as an opportunity to change that.”

After years of perfecting their process, Just Earth Papers 100% paper cup and lid manufacturing facility is up and running in Christchurch and looking for customers who are keen to make the switch.

“Doing things differently is hard,” says Rob. “A cup takes one second to make, but it took three and a half years to get the process right. Now, we need some takeaway businesses to get behind it and make the change.”

Per capita, New Zealand is the third-most wasteful country in the OECD - we produce five times the global daily average of waste per person.

We can close the loop on our 295 million disposable coffee cups by composting back into the earth.

“We can’t fix our country’s waste problems overnight, but switching to Just Earth cups and lids is something we can do today that makes a big difference - and doesn’t rely on the difficult task of shifting people’s behaviour,” Stewart says.

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