The Real Reason Cup Noodle Will Stop Having Stickers For Their Lids

Cup Noodle will no longer come with the sticker that keeps the lid down. Reporting on this change, Kotaku explains that Nissin, the company behind Cup Noodle, has decided to cease the sticker's production as a means to reduce its contribution to plastic waste by 33 tons.

The purpose of these stickers, as Ikidane Nippon wrote in 2018, was to prevent steam from escaping the cup after pouring boiling water on the noodles. The removal of these stickers will mainly affect Cup Noodles sold in Japan, where they were first introduced 37 years ago. Ikidane Nippon illustrates that the sticker is an elegant alternative to what many Cup Noodle fans do to steam their noodles: either cover the whole thing with a book or hold the lid down by piercing the edge with a fork. Presumably, Cup Noodle might have figured that if people were crafty enough to make their instant noodles by other means, the company was fine to go on without the sticker.

American companies should take note of Cup Noodles' innovative design

The solution Nissin has hit upon is clear and sensible. As Kotaku reports, Cup Noodle will replace the steam-capturing sticker with two flaps on the lid. With a cat's face underneath the lid, the two flaps create a clever, innovative, and greener design. In other words, it provides a direct contrast to what Taco Bell did a few months back with its hot sauce packets (via PR Newswire).

In April, Taco Bell announced it would initiate a recycling system for its sauce packets. John Hocevar, Greenpeace's USA Oceans Campaign Director, responded to the plan with disappointment: "It is time for Taco Bell to think outside the box, not cook up more failed greenwashing strategies for Earth Day headlines," he stated in a press release.

The issue is that recycling the sauce packets, if even feasible, does not address the pollution created by fabricating them. If Taco Bell really cared about reducing their carbon footprint, they could not offer packets, but apply the sauce directly to the food. The difference between the two is that Taco Bell wanted to introduce needless complexity in order to keep an environmentally damaging system in place, while Nissin has altered its Cup Noodle to really take a stance against plastic.