What’s better than watching your abandoned paper cup sprout magically into a flowering plant?


Imagine a question popping out of nowhere, asking you where you’d be without your morning coffee. Chances are that you’d say, tucked, deep inside your bed, or curled up in front of your desk on a chilly morning. If this situation sounds familiar, and especially during the cold weather, then there are more reasons to read this piece of information than to abandon it.

You rarely go without your daily quick-serve of coffee. But you are not alone, because this is the case with most people living in the United States. According to an innovative company called Reduce, Reuse, Grow, there are about 146 billion waste coffee cups in the landfills every year.

In as much as there are a few Eco-conscious coffee consumers who bring with them re-usable coffee mugs to their favorite coffee joints, this number only accounts to a small percentage compare to those who walk into a coffee cafe empty-handed. And even if you were a die-hard Eco-conscious coffee consumer being faced with a debilitating caffeine headache, you’d easily pop into any coffee joint and forget the rest — as long as it’s convenient for you. That’s the reason why Reduce, Reuse, Grow is now making plant-able coffee cups. But they are also training you how to grow your paper cups.

Instead of sending polythene coffee cups to the landfills (where they can be recycled to a maximum of 3 times), the founder of Reduce, Reuse, Grown wanted to eliminate the menace altogether. He wanted to eliminate all these coffee cups from the landfills entirely. He thought about plant-able packaging, as a sustainable way of disposing of waste.

His project was simple; he only used a compost-certified paper cup, impregnated with coffee seeds to do the job. The cup is supposed to do two things — serve your coffee, get back to the soil and result in the growth of native coffee plants.

Grow your paper cups: You can make your own version too

Every time someone comes up with a new idea, there’s always a way to imitate what they’ve done, and this is just a simple version that will lead you to grow your paper cups conveniently from home.

The paper will serve as compost for the seed in which it is impregnated with. You have to soak the cup in water for about five minutes before planting it in a warm moist soil. Otherwise, if you grow your paper cups that way, you won’t see results.


If you’re going to take coffee in a cafe using these Eco-friendly mugs, you either have the option of taking them home for planting or disposing them inside a designated bin at the coffee shop before leaving. The company will then come and collect them for replanting on your behalf.

Things you’ll need to make your very own and grow your paper cups successfully

You’ll need a non-glossy paper material like newspaper. Then you’ll also need your coffee seeds handy/or any other seed. You’ll also need a stiff mesh screen, a basin, a picture frame that can fit inside the basin, waxed paper, pair of scissors, large flat spoon, a stapler and a blender.

The steps

You have to cut the mesh screen so it can fit in the frame. You must tuck firmly onto the frame. Tear the papers into smaller pieces and have them soaked in water for about 30 minutes. Once the paper has been soaked, you will put this mixture into a blender in order to blend until smooth. Pour the outcome into the basin and stir in your coffee seeds.

Now you have to dip the frame into the pulp mixture. You should gently move the mixture from side to side in order to achieve an even layer of pulp.

Drain the excess water out of the mixture. Turn the frame pulp upside down into a dry dish cloth until the water stops dripping. When you gently lift the screen, the paper will drop onto the screen. In the event that it sticks, just tap gently until it comes out. Then dry the paper overnight for perfect results.


Grow your paper cups once they’ve served their purpose. However, be careful not to make them using large seeds because large seeds tend to fall off the paper once it is dry. If you have a specific area where you want to grow your paper cups, make sure the seeds will thrive in the area you want to grow them in. This doesn’t necessarily have to be coffee seeds.

When using paper that does not contain glossy material, this is paper that can be recycled once you grow your paper cups. Consequently, they can serve the same way as mulch or compost in the soil.

Also, make sure you use paper that doesn’t have too much ink on it since these may contain elements that are harmful to the plant you intend to grow your paper cups for. Newspapers, old bills or junk mail should suffice.

Even though you intend to grow your paper cups, strive to make them presentable on the table. Because of this, you want to make the white paper look appealing. You can add color to your paper cups using flower petals, berries or anything like that.

Remember not to add the seeds into the blender when preparing your paper cups since the blender will end up crushing them, so you won’t be able to grow your paper cups effectively.

Grow your paper cups to positively impact the environment

This concept has been tested with a variety of seeds. It’s safe as long as the seeds don’t come into direct contact with the coffee drink in question.

And the fact is, when you grow your paper cups, one seed will grow a full tree. A full tree will extract about a ton of Co2 from the environment in 40 years time. So when you grow your paper cups, it’s really not going into waste.

Other seeds will do well too, as long as they show similar characteristics to that of coffee seeds. This means that if you Grow your paper cups with seeds that are not durable or very hardy, they may not grow at all.


This project might be the next big thing for people who love coffee. See, you just grow your paper cups after enjoying your favorite drink, and that’s it. You conserve the environment.