Local entrepreneur Luvuyo Ndiki is taking his business to the next level as he launches South Africa’s first biodegradable drinking cup made from sugar cane and corn starch.
Ndiki, who founded the youth-focused creative events agency Red Cup Village, was the first company to re-introduce red festival plastic cups into the African market.
Ndiki said he hoped to launch the new cups in May.
He said plastic pollution was an important matter and he wanted to be able to make a difference.
The company uses 3D printing technology to make a drinking cup, using a polylactide (PLA) filament, which is a biodegradable, and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources such as sugar cane and corn starch.
“Most of the time when I was selling my product the customers would ask me how they could recycle their cups and I realised that I wanted to do something that was for the future. It’s just more conscious to create biodegradable products, especially looking at the issue of plastic in our environment.”
He said the present cups sell for R10 but there would be a small price increase when the more environmentally-friendly ones hit the market.
“We were importing them from China and then we thought: ‘We are not helping the community’, so we started to recycle cups and now we are moving to biodegradable cups. It will take less than six months for them to break down in the environment. They will cost a bit more, but the plan is we want to manufacture in large numbers so we can save money.”
He said he hoped to venture into other products like biodegradable straws.
Ndiki said he was humbled by how his company had grown, since starting in 2014, and hoped that he was inspiring others in the process.
“Our brand story has always been about bringing people from different cultures together and creating a social cohesion – it’s not just a cup, but a lifestyle. We are building a global lifestyle brand through innovative concepts and premium products.”
Ndiki said his products were available online and in some retailers.