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There were mixed reactions from the UK’s population of coffee drinkers last week when the government announced its latest plans to help save the planet.

Under the ‘latte levy’, the government has proposed a 25p tax on all disposable coffee cups, similar to the 5p tax introduced on plastic bags in 2016, arguing that the revenue generated will be put towards further investment in the country’s landfill sites and recycling facilities.

The motion has come off the back of a recent report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee which highlighted that of the 2.5 billion disposable cups used by UK consumers each year, less than one in 400 cups are properly recycled.

One budding inventor who is only too aware of the issue that this is causing for our planet is Andrew Brooks, creator of the pokito collapsible cup.

As seen on TV, the pokito is a reusable travel cup which can be adjusted to match the size of the user’s drink (from 8oz espresso to 16oz grande) and has been designed to collapse when finished with for ease of storage and portability.

Having now been in production with North East-based plastics manufacturer, Omega Plastics, for over a year, the pokito is the result of an innovative crowdfunding campaign managed by Brooks through the online platform, Kickstarter, which helped to raise over £100,000 towards bringing the concept to life.

Andrew 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.

“Every day, more than 7 million paper cups are thrown into British bins, 99% of which end up in landfill sites instead of being recycled.

“There are a lot of reusable travel cups already on the market, but many of them are either too big, too heavy, or tend to leak, which limits their reusability. I wanted to create something which worked from a practical point of view, but that would also be sustainable to manufacture.”

To help him further develop his design from a sustainability and practicality perspective, Andrew called upon the expertise of the award-winning tooling and plastic injection moulding manufacturer, Omega Plastics.

“It’s one thing to have an idea, but another to actually put it into practice,” Andrew 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.”

Omega Plastics provides specialist plastic injection moulding services to a wide range of industrial sectors including medical, automotive, FMCG and defence.

With facilities in Washington, Hartlepool and Blyth, Omega Plastics has established itself as one of the UK’s leading plastics manufacturers. The company prides itself on its exceptional levels of customer service and the unparalleled support it provides to clients throughout the manufacturing process, from initial designs to finished products.

Gary Powner, managing director 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.”

Made from food-safety approved and eco-friendly TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) and PP (polypropylene), the pokito has been designed with the planet and the consumer in mind. With built-in insulation to help keep the contents hot whilst protecting the user’s fingers from burning and a unique raised lip to help minimise spills while drinking on-the-go, the pokito is marketing itself as the busy commuter’s best friend.

“The new research shown by the Environmental Audit Committee has thrown into even harsher reality the environmental impact of something as simple as using a paper cup,” Andrew added.

“Making a small lifestyle change, like refilling a travel mug for your morning coffee can make a huge difference to the well-being of the planet.

“Although the proposed latte levy will only go so far in the fight to save Earth, I think the mindfulness that the tax will help to promote is certainly a step in the right direction.”

To find out more about the pokito, visit www.pokito.net or follow the project on Twitter: @pokitocup.

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