The coffee and beverage industry is growing rapidly. Almost half of all coffees and hot drinks are now sold in disposable cups. There are more than four times as many coffee shops today as there were in the year 2000, and 1 in 5 of us visit a coffee shop every day. This adds more plastic waste. More than 300 billion plastic lids are used on coffee and beverage cups every year. These plastic-based lids are slated to be banned in the European Union.
To tackle this challenge, UniCup, a Swedish-based company has created an innovative solution – a paper lid made of spruce and pine. This bio-based lid referred to as the “liplid” is to be placed inside, rather than on the cup. The lid is designed to improve the stability and drinking experience of on-the-go beverages.
Founders Lars Bendix and Håkan Löfholm assert that their creation is environmentally friendly, fully recyclable, and does not spill as plastic lids do. Manufactured through a globally unique Dry Molded Fiber process, it is also extremely stable and sustainable. Because of the lid’s unique design, less than 25% of the material is used for production. “You drink from the rim of the cup instead of the lid, so you don’t burn yourself and it doesn’t taste like plastic or paper. The coffee tastes just like it does in your coffee cup at home”, the company said.
UniCup has been producing eco-friendly products for more than 20 years now. All through these years, the company has seen and experienced problems with plastic lids fitted onto beverage drinks. When used for both, hot or cold drinks, these lids, they say, fail to meet the needs of consumers in terms of functionality and sustainability. Spills are one of the most common problems. Inventors suggest that spruce and pine, the most used type of coniferous wood, are easier to use and convert into paper. These withstand moisture, have a better shelf life, and are considered environmentally sound.
“We are already seeing that there’s a large market for Liplid. We are in contact with major chains that are very interested in purchasing the lid,” says Jesper Berthold, CEO of UniCup Scandinavia AB, Liplid’s producer.
Liplid is currently being developed by UniCup Scandinavia AB in collaboration with the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE). The lid will be manufactured in Sweden.