U.K.’s First Plastic-Free Lidless Disposable Cup Debuts

The ButterflyCup doesn’t have a separate lid and can hold hot liquid.

December 09, 2020

LONDON—The ButterflyCup, Britain’s first fully plastic-free and recyclable lid-free disposable cup, debuted last week. The cup, which doesn’t need a separate lid, is a result of a challenge issued by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to the major coffee chains to switch to a “properly recyclable” cup to solve the “takeout trash mountain” created by the estimated 5,000 coffee cups Britons throw away every minute.

ButterflyCup founder Tommy McLoughlin claims to have solved this problem with “the world's most environmentally friendly disposable cup.” Each year, Britons toss 2.5 billion coffee cups, with only one in 400 recycled. Most cups to date are not recycled thanks to their plastic lining and separate plastic lid.

Unlike traditional takeaway cups, ButterflyCup contains no plastic laminate. Its design also eliminates the need for a plastic lid. ButterflyCup can be recycled in the regular paper bin along with cardboard and ordinary paper, biodegrades naturally and can be composted, the company says.

ButterflyCup has already held talks with several of the major coffee chains and is currently used in more than 20 countries across five continents.

“It is a travesty that of the billions of coffee cups the U.K. uses each year, so few get recycled. We created ButterflyCup to lift the lid on this eco disaster and help solve it,” McLoughlin said. “We hope more coffee outlets across the U.K. give their customers the option of using it in the near future.”