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Biodegradable Is The New Plastic

Biodegradable Is The New Plastic

Originally published on Match 16, 2018

Numerous companies, such as San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee, Pela Case, and Bogobrush, are founded on the basis of reinventing existing products as environmentally friendly products. Keurig’s K-Cup products are putting, on average, thirty million individual plastic K-cups into landfills everyday. Single serve coffee makers have become one of the most popular products amongst avid coffee drinkers. This holds a huge environmental impact when you consider that each individual coffee cup is constructed of plastic and then goes straight into landfills, including the nine billion K-Cups in 2016 alone. American citizens are the number one consumer of coffee globally not to mention that the American Keurig Company, Green Mountain, produced 8.3 billion K-Cups in 2013, which is enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times. In 2014, output shot up to 9.8 billion, all of which will be disposed of eventually. San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee’s biodegradable OneCup was created to fix the immense plastic pollution problem of this generation. This innovative product solves the plastic predicament by their intricate design. The lid is made of wood pulp while the ring and filter are made of polylactic acid, which can be converted into dirt within 90 days of use. The broad market of Keurig and other single serving coffee makers open many opportunities for San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee’s no waste OneCup product since their universal design can be used by most Keurig coffee makers. OneCup has been in operation since 2012 and is recently becoming nationally known due to a viral Facebook video highlighting their company and the negative effects of the traditional K-Cup dilemma. Once this product grows even more in popularity, the competing brands will recognize their need for change.

In order for current plastic products to become truly sustainable, there needs to be biodegradable alternatives to force existing plastic using companies to change. In fact, innovative entrepreneurs are creating brilliant ideas to do just this; they have invented ways to change common everyday plastic products into sustainable and biodegradable commodities. The three company’s business models have started on the premise of noticing an opportunity to make common and consistently used plastic products into fully biodegradable options. All three started out with a mission to make a difference while simultaneously giving back to their community and making a positive environmental impact.

Another everyday plastic product that is being perpetually purchased and eventually tossed directly into landfills are phone cases. The rapidly changing technological advances cause for the average person to get a new phone between every two to five years. Most new phones vary in size, in turn changing the case size. Aesthetically pleasing reasons also causes constant change of phone cases for most cell phone owners. Pela cases found a solution to stop the ever-growing disposal of plastic cell phone cases. Pela cases are 100% compostable and eco-friendly made from patented compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials.

Pela’s origin was based on the goals to reduce plastic waste, alleviate dependency on non-renewable resources, educate people about plant-based sustainable alternatives, and build a company to be proud of. Their main mission is to make the everyday phone user have a protective case that is biodegradable to help solve plastic pollution. Pela has implemented a buy one get one 50% off (BOGO) business model in order to catch people’s attention.

The phone case company’s initiative is to save the oceans in particular from plastic disposal. Keeping this initiative in mind in their business model allows for a percentage of each sale to get donated to environmental friendly foundations. Pela has many partnerships directly linking them to clean water and ocean foundations such as and Surfrider Foundation. Pela prides themselves on being able to revolutionize the plastic phone case industry with a simple change that will have long-term positive results on water pollution.

Plastic products stretch across a multitude of industries. All of these industries are waiting for environmentally friendly innovators to pursue ideas that will change the negative side effects of using plastic. Many environmental issues can be avoided with the education of society to realize there are alternatives to these problems. Companies such as San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee, Pela, and Bogobrush all prove that almost any plastic product being used daily can be changed into sustainable eco-friendly ones. People tend not to realize that their daily activities can have dramatically negative effects on the environment. With the persistent advancement of biodegradable alternatives and educating society, a lot can change. It really does take one small change to make a huge and everlasting difference.



Godoy, Maria. “Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity of K-Cups.” National Public Radio, Inc. NPR. 28 Jan. 2015. Web 10 Feb. 2018.

Hickey, Brian. “Lincoln-Based Company Unveils Compostable Coffee Pods.” KCRA News. KCRA 3 News, 26 Oct. 2017. Web 10 Feb. 2018.

Bogobrush. “Bogobrush Biodegradable Toothbrush.” Bogobrush Website, Web 10 Feb. 2018.

MYSA. “How Toothbrushes Affect the Environment: An Infographic.” MYSA, 9 Dec. 2015. Web 10 Feb. 2108.

Pela Case. “Eco-Friendly iPhone Cases.” Pela Case Website, Web 10 Feb. 2018.

San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee. “The Best Gourmet Coffee OneCup.” San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee Website, Web 10 Feb. 2018.

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