A local firm has agreed a deal to manufacture an invention that is designed to save the amount of waste from coffee cups.
Andrew Brooks, the inventor of the pokito reusable coffee cup, raised more than £100,000 through crowdfunding to develop the idea. This put pokito in the top 1 percent most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all-time.
After searching for investors, Mr Brooks, from Portsmouth, has partnered up with the Washington-based Omega Plastics to make the product.
He said: “I approached Omega Plastics with the concept for my design and they came back to me with a very competitive price. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“I have always had connections with the North East. My daughter is at university in Durham, I have family living in Yarm in North Yorkshire and our website developer is based in Whitley Bay in North Tyneside.”
Pokito is an eco-friendly reusable cup, which adjusts to the size of the user’s drink and can be collapsed to fit inside a pocket and make it easier to carry.
Given recent suggestions, from researchers and academics at Cardiff University, that coffee shops should start to charge consumers for their disposable cups, this announcement may have come at the perfect time.
Mr Brooks said: “It’s astonishing to think that if you stacked all of the paper cups that are thrown away each day on top of each other, they would be 7 times taller than Mount Everest.”
An estimated 2.5 billion disposable cups are used every year which results in roughly 250,000 tonnes of waste. However, only about one in 400 is recycled.
With facilities in Washington, Hartlepool and Blyth, Omega Plastics has established itself as one of the UK’s leading plastics manufacturers.
Gary Powner, MD at Omega Plastics said: “We were absolutely delighted when Andrew approached us with the concept designs for the pokito collapsible cup.
“Working together with Andrew, we were able to provide a full turn-key solution for the pokito, successfully creating the tools needed to produce and mould all five of the components for the pokito and then supporting the project through the manufacturing process.”
The pokito cups are available to pre-order online and mass-production of the product is now under way.
You can follow the project on Twitter at: @pokitocup