The crusade against plastic, single-use straws has made major headlines lately – with good reason. But, why stop at plastic straws? Seemingly harmless paper coffee cups could be recycled in theory, but there’s a major problem: the plastic lining inside each cup that prevents coffee from leaking out also prevents the cup from being recycled. This is no small issue: the process of removing the plastic liner from paper cups is prohibitively expensive. Thus, more than 58-billion paper cups end up in landfills every year.
Enter Boulder, Colo.-based Vessel Works with a disruptive and bona fide solution, founded by sustainable business entrepreneur Dagny Tucker. Vessel Works takes plastic waste reduction a significant leap forward with its revolutionary “bike-share for cups” concept. This new model for reducing the use of disposable cups – so ubiquitous in our on-the-go culture – introduces an innovative “grab, go, drop” model that disrupts our current wasteful throwaway habit.
Users sign up once, grab a free, reusable, insulated, stainless steel Vessel at participating cafés, then enjoy their drink anywhere and drop their Vessel at any participating café or designated return kiosk around town. Vessel Works will launch in Boulder on Weds. Nov. 14 at Boxcar Coffee Roasters on Pearl Street at 8:00 a.m. and Trident Booksellers & Café on Pearl Street at 9:30 a.m.
“We envision a world where it’s easy for daily choices to have a positive impact,” said Dagny Tucker, CEO and co-founder of Vessel Works. “Our mission is to bring transparency to the impact of your everyday choices and provide superior options that positively impact society and the environment – so you can align your values with your choices.”
Vast amounts of resources (20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water) are depleted every year to make paper cups that are used for about 30 minutes and then thrown away. Production of paper cups adds 13 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, and the plastic lining breaks down into a micro-plastic harmful to our environment, groundwater, oceans and wildlife. And – drinking hot liquids out of plastic is bad news for your health.
Vessel Works successfully piloted its services in New York City in 2016. In its first week, when offered the option, 62 percent of to-go drinkers opted for a Vessel instead of a paper or plastic cup. The pilot ran for eight months in locations spanning from the East and West Villages to Brooklyn, Midtown and the Lower East Side. After the research, development and piloting period, Vessel Works considered countless cities across the globe and ultimately chose Boulder to be home to the first citywide launch.
The Boulder launch includes Trident Booksellers and Café, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Seeds Library Café and Pekoe at University of Colorado Boulder and will scale from there to add additional cafes, corporate campuses and other universities. The entire Vessel Works system is free for users – like a library for to-go cups.
Vessel Works prevents waste and offers the convenience that today’s ever-busy consumer seeks, while also removing the hassle of carrying and cleaning your own cup. Fewer than two percent of coffee drinkers currently bring their own reusable mug to Starbucks, and around 26 percent of consumers order cold brew coffee or frozen drinks typically served in a 100 percent plastic cup. Vessels are insulated to keep your beverage hot or cold and offer the convenience of on-the-go use for up to five days before users return it to the Vessel Works “library.” Through their Vessel Works account, users also receive reports on their individual impact on waste reduction, carbon dioxide and water savings, and other positive impacts achieved through using Vessel Works and ditching disposability.
It’s just as simple for café owners and employees: Vessel Works markets, tracks, delivers and picks up the cups with no risk to cafés. The cafés pay a per cup fee that is less than the café’s current cost of single use paper and plastic cups. Vessel Works provide cafés access to personalized reporting on their positive environmental impacts and offer free training for café staff, branding, kiosks, distribution and return kiosks.
Vessel Works disrupts the market at a time when many cities around the world have begun banning plastic disposables and threatening fees for the use of paper cups, yet 83 percent of adults in the U.S. drink coffee. We need an alternative to wasteful throwaway habits, and Vessel Works offers a convenient and cost effective solution with its free, style-conscious reusable Vessels for consumers; a cost-saving turnkey model for cafés; and savings on waste management for cities.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi-res images, videos and infographics are available here. Executive Director and co-founder Dagny Tucker is available for media interviews upon request. Please contact emily(at)freshideasgroup(dot)com to schedule an interview or receive more information.
About Vessel Works Non-Profit and Vessel Revolution Inc.
Vessel Works’ mission is to educate the public on the significant environmental and social impacts of everyday consumption choices in order to enable a necessary transition to sustainable lifestyles. Vessel Works, in partnership with Vessel Revolution, provides a free service of stainless steel cups for beverages on the go. Grab an insulated stainless steel Vessel, enjoy your drink anywhere and drop your Vessel at any participating cafe or Vessel Works return kiosk across town. Founded by sustainable business entrepreneur and expert Dr. Dagny Tucker, Vessel Works provides the opportunity for consumers to make better choices in a fast-paced society with its disruptive model for replacing the 58-billion disposable paper coffee cups thrown into landfills every year. Vessel Works disrupts throwaway culture, inspires individuals to have an impact through meaningful action and equips consumers to align their values with their choices. Vessel Revolution Inc. supports the work of Vessel Works by licensing its education platform and catalyzing the business opportunity of an adaptable, transferable, and scalable library service of reusables. For more information visit http://www.vesselworks.org.
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