A South African entrepreneur is using 3D printing technology to create biodegradable drinking cups. Luvuyo Ndiki started his venture, Red Cup Village, in Cape Town and hopes to launch his innovative products in May 2019. The cups are made from polylactide (PLA) filament – a biodegradable polyester derived from sugarcane and cornstarch.
Ndiki grew up in Bathurst, Eastern Cape. He started Red Cup Village in 2014 when he was studying product design and communication at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). His products have been refined and mastered since then and are set for release this year.
Red Cup Village inspired by Africa
The company was inspired by Ndiki’s grandmother and a story of unity and solidarity. “Red Cup Village was inspired by a story my grandmother told me about a woman, back in the 13th century,” explains Ndiki.
“This African lady united two rival village tribes by inviting them to a gathering where she made them drink from the same wooden cup and, without realising it, the two kings started sharing the same cup which made them share their cultures, visions, beliefs and created unity in the village,” he continues.
The company has shifted focus to sustainability
Red Cup Village has not always produced such sustainable and biodegradable products. In 2014, they started selling plastic cups that were branded with stickers. Ndiki decided to look for more sustainable materials from which to manufacture his cups.
The sugarcane and cornstarch derivatives used in the manufacture of these cups are renewable resources that come from South African farms. Red Cup Village has also started producing cups made from recycled plastic pallets and crates. The cups are manufactured locally and are sold as branded cups for events.
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