Mar 18, 2019 | By Thomas

Jun Aizaki, the founder of New York-based design studio Crème Design, and his team created HyO, a completely organic, biodegradable cup made from a gourd grown inside a 3D printed mould to take their functional shape. The biodegradable cups can be manufactured on a mass scale and serve as a sustainable alternative to the 250 billion fiber cups starbucks uses annually.

HyO (pronounced hi-o) is a derivative of the Japanese word hyotan, which means gourd. Gourds have traditionally been used by ancestors as receptacles like cups for centuries.  They are fast-growing plants that bear robust fruit each season. Once dried, the gourds develop a robust outer skin and their fibrous inner flesh becomes watertight. Crème adapted this centuries-old method, and create its own compostable vessels, using the modern technique of 3D printing to create cup-shaped moulds, in any shape or size. They eventually developed a stackable set of cups that mimic the silhouette of a classic faceted glass cup.

"We can grow gourds into customisable functional shapes, such as cups and flasks that can be composted instead of filling up landfills like the plastic alternative," the design studio said in a blog post.

They argue that the HyO-Cups, being 100 per cent biodegradable, could significantly help to reduce this waste. They initially grew them outdoors but there were many barriers such as weather, pets, humidity and flooding. They are now growing them in a container laboratory set up in a shipping container. The next step for Crème is to grow them in an indoor laboratory.

The only disadvantage of the gourd cup is that gourds requires at least 100 days to mature. Crème is working on optimising the process to scale up the production. “Like all new projects, we are starting small and hope to scale up to increase quantity and lower the price per gourd, so that the cup can be a viable challenger to the plastic waste industry,” said the Crème Design.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Ed Eaglehouse wrote at 3/18/2019 7:01:28 PM:

What a constructive idea! Although they'll have to come up with some convincing marketing to make my wife think it's sanitary. Like maybe get Toby Keith to write a song, "Red HyO Cup". But I'm in. Maybe they could print some zarfs to go with the cups!

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