Sustainability Research and Design

How sustainable is Bhar ?

Strategic research

How sustainable is Bhar?

Sustainability connects the product's impact on society, the environment and economy. Designers observe sustainability products with even a broader perspective and include the user experiences as well as the central design features like functionality and durability.

What to know about Bhar?

Which information are needed to include when introducing Bhar as sustainability solution for India?


Bhar is a century-old teacup that imparts many historical experiences and national treasure. With growing opportunities during industrialisation, the cup got mainly replaced by lighter, cheaper, more durable and accessible cups made of plastic and paper. Reintroducing the disposable clay cup enables to remember the tea heritage, the national importance of the native material terracotta and the traditional pottery craftsmanship.


Railway Minister Piyush Goyal shared the idea end of 2020. Already previous politicians attempted to highlight Bhar but their experiences indicate that Bhar poses ecological, social and economic difficulties. The politicians intention is promising but according to the understanding of holistic sustainability, the opposite of a well thought through concept with a respectful and honest relationship to traditions and an efficient use of materials.




The goal in 2016 was to replace 5 million plastic cups per day. At a weight of 30 grams per clay cup, 5 million equal an amount of 150 tonnes of low-fired clay that is disposed of every single day. This high quantity of terracotta causes soil pollution, negatively impacts the agricultural land, and destroys natural surroundings of trees, too.

Besides the waste, the aim of 5 million Bhars produced every day causes a fast soil-degredation that changes the natural environment of riverbeds and wetlands in India.

Waste material low-fired terracotta





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