Bartlett Mitchell launches eco-friendly cup to support female coffee producers

Independent catering group, Bartlett Mitchell has launched Huskup - an eco-friendly reusable coffee cup that will support the community that produces Perkee - its premium coffee.

In direct response to the seven million takeaway cups that are disposed of every single day, the Perkee Foundation Huskup cup is made from rice husk instead of plastic.

The agricultural industry produces around 125 million tonnes of rice husk each year that is usually burned but reusable cup producer Huskup uses the abundant by-product to make lightweight coffee cups with a premium, ceramic-like texture that are both dishwasher and microwave-friendly.

Unlike plastic, these cups are biodegradable and can ultimately return to the soil at the end of their life, taking just 90 days in an industrial composting plant to fully break down.

The Perkee coffee brand is a collaboration with female-run co-operative Soppexcca in Nicaragua. When the company learned that the women who rake the coffee beans during harvest refer to the rest of the year as ‘skinny season’ due to their seasonal employment, it pledged to help through sales of its new reusable cup.

The huskup design and packaging was developed by Lauren Gillon, Bartlett Mitchell designer, and is based on a print created by the Casa Tres Mundos printmaker in Grenada.

Wendy Bartlett and marketing director, Lin Dickens met the artist who created the the print at the Casa Tres Mundos studio when in Granada, Nicaragua visiting the Soppexcca co-operative last year.

The House of the Three Worlds Foundation (Casa Tres Mundos) is an institution that promotes, supports and promotes cultural projects in Nicaragua and Central America. Along with these artistic, musical and educational activities, whose emphasis is aimed at supporting the vulnerable in Nicaraguan society, the Foundation coordinates a rural development project in Malacatoya.

All profits from the sales of the Perkee Foundation Huskup cup will contribute to building a biscuit factory in Nicaragua that will give the Soppexcca women the opportunity for a year-round income.

Dickens said, “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, both at Bartlett Mitchell and at Perkee. That’s why we chose to partner with the Soppexca co-operative and with that came a responsibility to support the many individuals who work hard each season to provide us with our fantastic coffee beans.

“The Perkee Foundation Huskup cup not only supports these incredible women to earn an income all year, it helps us and our customers to cut our use of plastics with a truly sustainable alternative. It’s win-win.”