320,000 coffee to go cups are used every hour in Germany (according to Deut­sche Umwelt­hilfe DUH). This are 3 Billions cups per year. A big chal­lenge. According to DUH, the dispo­sable cups are also predo­mi­nantly made of paper fibers, for which new mate­rial and no recy­cled paper can be used. Moreover, because the cups are not only made of paper but also of plastic, the  cups are diffi­cult to recycle.

The start-up company Carbo­ge­nics (UK), which grew out of a rese­arch project at the Univer­sity of Edin­burgh, has come up with an genius idea. They use pyro­lysis (carbo­ni­za­tion process / char­ring) to recycle these cups into biochar. The clean biochar (it doesn’t contain plastic anymore) can then be used again in agri­cul­ture as a soil condi­tioner or to improve the biogas process. In addi­tion: During carbo­ni­za­tion a large part of the carbon contained in the biochar is stably stored. If the biochar of paper cups is after that applied into the soil, the carbon is extracted from the atmo­s­phere for centu­ries (active CO2 reduc­tion).

(photo © weixx – fotolia.com)  

LINK: Read more about the CreChar-Project.