Posted in Kafevend Blog

Do you ever look at your Kafevend disposable coffee cup and wonder just what else you could use it for? After all we are constantly encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle. It's a mantra for the twenty first century and so it jolly well ought to be. Us humans have gone through the planet's resources at an alarming rate and it's only right that we should wake up and smell the coffee, an apt saying in this particular circumstance!

Perhaps you could build yourself a classy multi-receptacle holder for desk items such as paper clips, pens and post-its. Sportier personalities could create a target practice game. There's a lot more skill involved in landing a screwed up Kit Kat wrapper in a cup; anyone can manage a direct hit in a bin! Perhaps we need to get in touch with Blue Peter for some more innovative suggestions, though you'd need to be armed with a stack of double sided sticky tape for one of their ìand here's one I prepared earlierî creations.

If we haven't sold you on a 'reuse' idea yet, have you heard about artist and designer, Rob Draper? He puts his empty paper coffee cups to use as blank canvases for coffee themed art. Sometimes Rob gets the art finished whilst he's still in the coffee shop and actually leaves it behind for another customer to find. Have you discovered one yet at your local Costa? Other ideas involve such intricate detail that Rob takes the cup away with him for the long haul. Many of his finished cups feature an A-Z of coffee culture, 'E is for Espresso' or 'R is for Refill' for example. Some feature a pithy slogan like 'ANTI YAWN'. The project has been published online and is well worth a look. And if art is one of your things perhaps this could be the inspiration you need.

For the more practical amongst us we're going to look next at the coffee cup inspired brainchild of one Michael McDaniel. Now this isn't strictly within the 'reuse' category; actual cups were not the material used in the project. Nevertheless, the idea they gave rise to is more than worthy of the 'green credentials' we're promoting today.

McDaniel, an inventor and designer from Mississippi was very aware of the need for emergency shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Housing thousands of people in the Superdome lead to all kinds of downsides. One morning, as he sat sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup, the penny suddenly dropped; the take-away cups, lightweight and stackable, with their separate pile of lightweight and stackable lids became the inspiration for the shelter he named the 'Exo Housing System' or the 'Exo' for short. Flipped upside down, the 'lid' becomes a clip on floor. The lightweight material used means that each 'Exo' can be set up within two minutes without any need of tools or heavy lifting machinery. Multiple 'Exos' can be arranged in a camp circle so that families can keep together and the units are also lockable, ensuring safety as well as a sense of community. Reusable, cheap, easy to transport and store because of their stackability, McDaniel has worked hard on the prototypes and plans to help in the relief effort to Syria as soon as possible.

We're all great at remembering to recycle these days, but can you reuse your cup for something else first? And may coffee inspire us all!

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