Vessel Works is launching a cup-sharing program in Boulder. Courtesy Vessel Works.

New startup Vessel Works debuts cup-sharing program in Boulder

BOULDER — Vessel Works is a startup looking to expand the tide against single-use plastic to coffee cups with the launch of a reusable cup-sharing program.

The service works like a library, but for mugs rather than books. Users sign up for free and then can grab a reusable, insulated, stainless steel cup from participating coffee shops. They can enjoy their drink anywhere, even on the go. Users have five days to return the mug to any participating cafe, even a different one from where they originally purchased their drink. When signing up, customers do put a credit card number on file that is never charged unless they fail to return their cup within five days. Users also can’t check out a new mug

Vessel Works launches on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Boxcar Coffee Roasters and Trident Booksellers & Cafe, both on Pearl Street.

The service plans to add two other locations — Seeds Cafe at the Boulder Public Library and Pekoe Sip House on the University of Colorado Boulder campus — shortly.

“We envision a world where it’s easy for daily choices to have a positive impact,”  Dagny Tucker, CEO and co-founder of Vessel Works, said in a prepared statement. “Our mission is to bring transparency to the impact of your everyday choices and provide superior options that positively impact society and the environment — so you can align your values with your choices.”

About 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water are used every year to make paper cups, and many of those cups can’t be recycled because of the plastic lining inside, according to a Vessel Works news release.

The company is looking to reduce the need for disposable cups and bridge the gap in reusable cups — less than 2 percent of coffee drinkers bring their own mug to Starbucks and about 26 percent of consumers order drinks that are typically served in cups made of 100 percent plastic.

In addition to tracking their useable cups, Vessel Works users can also receive reports on their individual waste reduction, carbon dioxide and water savings and positive impact.

Vessel Works even removes the hassle from cafe owners: the company markets, tracks, delivers and picks up cups for the cafes. Vessel Works, which is licensed by the health department and operates out of a licensed space, handles the cleaning of the cups, delivering fresh clean cups to each participating location in the morning.

Cafes pay a per-cup fee less than the price of single-use paper and plastic cups. Cafes also receive personalized reports on their impact.

Vessel Works previously tested a pilot program of the “cup library” system in New York in 2016 before considering cities around the globe and ultimately choosing Boulder as its official launch city. The startup is now based in Boulder, with six employees on the Boulder team and several additional employees working out of New York. The company selected Boulder as a way to test operating in a tighter downtown than what New York offers and develop the program city-wide. It also wanted to work with a public institution and selected CU Boulder as that partner.

BOULDER — Vessel Works is a startup looking to expand the tide against single-use plastic to coffee cups with the launch of a reusable cup-sharing program.

The service works like a library, but for mugs rather than books. Users sign up for free and then can grab a reusable, insulated, stainless steel cup from participating coffee shops. They can enjoy their drink anywhere, even on the go. Users have five days to return the mug to any participating cafe, even a different one from where they originally purchased their drink. When signing up, customers do put a credit card number on file that is never charged unless they fail to return their cup within five days. Users also can’t check out a new mug

Vessel Works launches on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Boxcar Coffee Roasters and Trident Booksellers & Cafe, both on Pearl Street.

The service plans to add two other locations — Seeds Cafe at the Boulder Public Library and Pekoe Sip House on the University of Colorado Boulder campus — shortly.

“We envision a world where it’s easy for daily choices to have a positive impact,”  Dagny Tucker, CEO and co-founder of Vessel Works, said in a prepared statement. “Our mission is to bring transparency to the impact of your everyday choices and provide superior options that positively impact society and the environment — so you can align your values with your choices.”

About 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water are used every year to make paper cups, and…