The Disappearing Plastic Cup

Hydration Station at the America's Cup
Biodegradable CupWater refill stations at the America's Cup
The 34th America's Cup has committed to being a zero waste and single-use plastic bottle-free event, but with over 500,000 thirsty fans visiting the America's Cup over the past seven weeks, they need a way to drink water.

Water stations can be spotted around the America's Cup park and village providing spectators an easy way to refill their reusable water bottle. But what if your forget your bottle? You can purchase a reusable water bottle made by Kleen Kanteen and continue to utilize your reusable water bottle at home! Or you can use one of the provided plastic cups.

Wait...zero waste and plastic cups don’t go together? But by following the Clean Regattas Best Practice of using biodegradable products, they can! 

Let’s take a look at compostable plastic cups.

How can a crystal clear plastic cup break down in the same way that a banana peel does? By being made of the biodegradable plastics. There are several different compostable plastics on the market and the most common in biodegradable cups is PLA (polylactic acid), a corn based plastic. It is 100% compostable as well as recyclable. This plastic isn’t likely to break down in your back yard compost bin; it needs the higher temperatures of an industrial composting operation.

Sounds great why don’t we make more out of this plastic?  

It is worth noting that these biodegradable plastics have a very low melting point and do not stand a chance against hot coffee. Brian, our San Francisco based intern noted: "yesterday, my compostable lunch tray got soft and started to melt just sitting in the sun. But I was done with my lunch and it was headed for the green compost bin anyway. If we must have single use plastics, perhaps it is best that they break down this easily!"

While visiting the America’s Cup venue, keep your eye out for these compostable plastic products and make sure to sort them into the green bin so they don’t go to the landfill!