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Smash and Go; Meet GaeaStar, the Technology Company Creating Clay Containers That Don’t Require Recycling

  • Inspired by ancient Indian culture, GaeaStar uses 3-D printing to create cups and bowls made of clay, water, and salt that disintegrate into dust upon disposal, leaving zero harmful waste.

  • After generating high product demand in Germany, the startup will initiate a pilot with California-based Verve Coffee Roasters in 2023 to bring its earth-shattering solutions to North American businesses and consumers.

  • The company is announcing $6.5M seed funding from Morningside Technology Ventures,, Dart Labs Ventures, VSC Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, Climate Capital Ventures and others.

GaeaStar, the San Francisco and Berlin-based technology company creating ultra-thin clay containers to break our dependency on single-use plastic, today debuts its “drink to dust” technology in the United States. Developed via high-speed additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, and made of three simple ingredients – clay, water, and salt – the cups and bowls are geoneutral, meaning they come from natural materials of the Earth and leave behind zero harmful waste. Users can discard the containers in the normal trash or smash them on the ground, and they simply turn to dust. Recycling is no longer necessary or required.

After generating over a million unit orders and even more product demand from its debut in Germany, GaeaStar has raised $6.5M in seed funding from Morningside Technology Ventures,, Dart Labs Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, VSC Ventures and Climate Capital Ventures to bring its products to the United States, starting in San Francisco.

The world is currently creating more plastic waste than ever before. In 2021 alone, we generated over 40 million metric tons of plastic, yet only nine percent of all plastic ever made has been recycled. With GaeaStar, recycling is rendered obsolete.

Inspired by 5,000-year-old clay cups known as “Kuhlars,” GaeaStar presents a modern-day twist on the ancient Indian tradition of drinking from disposable clay cups that can be tossed — or smashed — on the ground without environmental harm. By combining this cultural practice with 21st-century technology, the company has created a viable fix for our single-use waste problem.

“Although many sustainable food and beverage containers are in the market, finding ones that are also exceptional products overall is a challenge. Our technology finally offers a solution that meets the convenience of being disposable without causing harm to the Earth while giving users a high-end experience,” said Sanjeev Mankotia, Founder and CEO of GaeaStar. “It’s all based on the premise that the answer to ditching plastic is to create something that comes from and returns to the Earth in essentially the same form. Ultimately, we have the potential to scale our technology for generations to come without adding more harmful waste to our landfills and waterways.”

How it Works

Unlike soggy paper straws or chemical-ridden plastic packaging, GaeaStar’s clay containers are ultra-thin yet 10x stronger than paper cups and offer an elevated on-the-go dining experience. The sourcing of the raw materials and delivery of the product is all done locally via a micro-factory model to limit the environmental footprint from start to finish.

Landing somewhere between single-use and reusable containers, these vessels can be taken home and safely used dozens of times with proper care while still having impact and guilt-free disposability. Consumers really can use them at their discretion. For the first time, they have a choice.

Each container can be printed in an average of 30 seconds and, at scale, is cost comparable to single-use incumbents so businesses can move towards their sustainability goals in a cost-effective way. Leveraging GaeaStar’s products in your business may look like:

“With the amount of single-use plastic piling up in our environment increasing, it’s obvious that recycling is not a functioning solution to plastic. Sanjeev and his team at GaeaStar have finally presented a realistic way of doing so without the need to drastically change human behavior while making it easy for us all to do our part in creating a future with less waste. Our team is humbled to join this journey and witness GaeaStar transform the market for plastic alternatives,” explains Sophie Lamparter, Managing Partner of DART Labs Ventures.

Coffee Lovers Rejoice

GaeaStar will begin distributing its coffee cups in the U.S. through a pilot with California-based Verve Coffee Roasters. The collaboration will give Verve customers at select cafes a more eco-friendly option when ordering particular food and beverages, and allow GaeaStar to fine tune its original container prototype to meet the needs of Verve and other U.S. businesses.

“Our mission is to, not only craft the future of coffee but, to protect its future – and that means being more intentional and sustainable with everything we do. Our customers are mindful about how their choices impact the planet and we think they’ll be thrilled about this more eco-friendly swap to enjoy their daily cup,” said Colby Barr, co-founder of Verve Coffee Roasters. “We’re honored by the opportunity to work with GaeaStar to help pioneer a more sustainable solution while maintaining the high-quality experience we seek to deliver with every customer interaction.”

To learn more and be a part of the revolution against single-use plastic, visit

About GaeaStar

Founded in 2021, GaeaStar is the company creating the replacement for single-use plastic with its additive-manufacturing “drink to dust” technology. Led by Founder Sanjeev Mankotia, the company combines ancient Indian disposable cups with 21st century technology to bring a viable alternative to plastic products for food and beverage. Developed from a team of experienced engineers, scientists, designers, finance professionals and support staff from various parts of the world, GaeaStar’s products work to drastically reduce waste and pollution, whilst enhancing the user experience and reducing the true cost.

To learn more, visit

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