Edible cups— a tasty and environmentally friendly solution

UNDP in Moldova
Jun 10 · 4 min read

The biggest problem with using disposable cups is that they are made to last for a single use. A lot of energy is created and eliminated only for a coffee that is drunk in less than an hour.

Your disposable coffee cup is an issue for the environment

The production of paper cups is largely based on natural resources. More than 20 million trees are cut down each year to produce disposable paper cups. Turning trees into paper and paper into usable cups requires a considerable amount of energy — the source of which is almost exclusively fossil fuels. It is estimated that the production of four glasses of paper is responsible for one kilogram of CO2 emissions.

Plastic and polystyrene glasses are not a solution either — both oil derivatives, another finite resource with an enormous and irreversible impact on the environment.

Yes, it’s true — most disposable cups can and should be recycled.

However, less than 1% of the cups we produce are recycled. Paper cups are difficult to recycle because most have a thin plastic liner to hold liquids. This plastic liner is difficult to separate and most recycling facilities are not equipped to do this type of recycling.

Plastic cups can be recycled, but it depends on the type of plastic used. We cannot assume that all disposable glasses can be easily recycled. Polystyrene glasses can be recycled by some facilities, but only a small part is collected for recycling. Most go to landfills or incinerators. When found in the wild, polystyrene will break down into smaller and smaller pieces, but will persist in the wild for over 500 years.

The result of our inability to recycle is an amazing amount of waste
Just throwing plastic waste in a recycling bin is not enough. It is therefore the responsibility of governments, businesses and individuals to take action and find a more sustainable solution to the plastic problem.

In Moldova we already have the edible glasses good for hot and cold liquids, fruit or ice cream desserts and yogurts. The business with eatable cups belongs to a young entrepreneur and was supported by UNDP Moldova, within the project “Sustainable Green Cities for Moldova”.

Maxim Zagorneanu launched the business with edible glasses in 2020, being concerned about environmental issues, he tried to find simple solutions to a major problem.

“Every day, 800 million disposable glasses are thrown around the world and very few of them are recycled. In our country there is almost no recycling. The alternative would be — edible cups. They are made exclusively from organic products, without chemical additives or vegetable oils, and all these products are on our market,“ says Maxim.

The glasses can hold at least one hour hot liquids of 100 degrees, after which it can be eaten or thrown in the trash and will decompose in about 72 hours.

After passing the laboratory tests, the company has already managed to conclude export contracts with five European countries, including the United Kingdom, Finland and Germany. And in our country, edible cups can be found all over the country and in over 150 restaurants and stalls that sell desserts and drinks to go.

“Our request to all citizens of our country is to be more friendly with the environment in which we live and to bring benefits to nature through all our actions.”

Our collective responsibility to take the necessary action will inevitably benefit our future generations and the planet as a whole.

This initiative is supported by UNDP Moldova, within the project “Sustainable Green Cities for Moldova”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented in partnership with the City Hall of Chisinau.

UNDP Moldova

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