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Soccer fans rejoice! The Premier League has begun again and is inviting fans back to the stands after many months of empty stadiums. However, returning fans aren’t just thirsty for the thrill of watching their favorite team play in the flesh—they’ll be thirsty for whatever the concession stands have to offer, which usually means a lot of waste is generated at each game. In the UK alone, an estimated 7 million disposable coffee cups are used every day, which amounts to 2.5 billion cups annually.
To help reduce the waste that is generated by soccer fans, Manchester City is serving hot drinks in edible coffee cups starting this past weekend at their first home game. This is part of an effort to promote environmental sustainability and to minimize litter in general.
The 220-milliliter (7.4 fluid ounce) cups, which are vessels for coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, are made of wafer that will remain crispy for at least half the duration of the game, and leak-proof for up to 12 hours. To prevent the bottom of the edible cup from touching any questionable surfaces, the lower half of the cup is wrapped in a recycled paper label that can also be recycled again after the cup has been eaten. BioBite, a two-year-old Scotland-based company launched by Samuel Hvizd and Lyubomir Lambrev, students at the University of Aberdeen, produces the edible cups as a way to offer a “tasty, crunchy… fully organic alternative to all disposable cups.” Hvizd and Lambrev’s overarching goal is to “gradually replace unsustainable paper and plastic solutions currently used in the food and beverage industry.”
The wafer contains no sugar, wax, or artificial coatings, and is comprised of seven natural, vegan ingredients (mainly wheat flour, oat bran, and water). Thanks to a pressure heat treatment process, can withstand impressive temperatures of up to 85 degrees Celsius or 185 degrees Fahrenheit. The cups taste like a thin cookie dunked in coffee and are only around 100 calories, but even if people prefer not to eat the cup, the club ensures that the cups can be disposed of at the on-site compostable waste stream, which the club uses to create organic compost as part of its peat-free commitments.