Brazilian cup maker’s traditional formula pays off

Global Business

brazilian-cup-makers-traditional-formula-pays-off

If you pop out for coffee now and again you’ll probably be drinking it out of a polystyrene or paper cup.

Much of it ends up in landfill by some estimates billions of tonnes every year just here in the U.S.

But a Brazilian entrepreneur is using an ancient crop to cut that waste mountain and help return those cups to Mother Nature.

CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco has the story from Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian cup maker's traditional formula pays off

Brazilian cup maker's traditional formula pays off

Now, if you pop out for coffee now and again you’ll probably be drinking it out of a polystyrene or paper cup. Much of it ends up in landfill by some estimates billions of tonnes every year just here in the U.S. But a Brazilian entrepreneur is using an ancient crop to cut that waste mountain and help return those cups to Mother Nature. CCTV’s Lucrecia Franco reports.

Engineer Claudio Rocha Bastos is the father of the idea and owner of CBPAK, a Brazilian packaging company founded in 2002. It’s not big, but does have some big clients — like the local branches of Facebook, Google and Statoil, the Norwegian oil and Gas Company, among others.

These thermal cups and trays are made out of one of Brazil’s most ancient staples: cassava, also known as manioc or yuca, a perennial tropical plant.

With 45 employees, the company produces 400,000 packages per month. The formula includes cassava starch, water and a secret organic mix. All biodegradable and compostable ingredients, meaning they can return to the soil.

It is, however, a complex and expensive process that can mold the material into virtually any shape, just like Styrofoam.

Bastos said a factory like this one requires an investment of $3 million. This to produce cups that cost 7 to 10 cents each — more than twice the price of similar plastic products. But it’s paying off.

Bastos said the company’s revenue doubled this year and he’s expecting 300 percent growth in 2017 with franchises and joint ventures in foreign markets. His company got a big boost this summer when France became the first country to ban disposable plastic cups and dishes.