Rethinking the Paper Cup

This guest post is by Marcel Botha, a partner at Colaboratorie Mutopo, a social product development firm based in New York City. Unlike other contests, where (charitable and non-profit) organizations compete for financial awards, the betacup Challenge rewards ideas that solve for the problem of non-recyclable paper coffee cups, with a jury-awarded prize and five community idea winners. It would be foolish not to begin treating the prodigious amount of waste produced by this consumption pattern as a serious problem.

58 billion paper coffee cups end up in landfill each year, with very few entering what is a technically challenging recycling process needed to separate the polyethylene waterproofing layer from the paper. The betacup challenge represents a unique opportunity to participate in finding a solution to this problem.

You can submit ideas in an open submission format, comment and rate others’ ideas, and engage in discussions with other betacup community members and contest jurors. Successful solutions could include innovations across the communication, product, experience and systems design space. Submissions should consider waste reduction, required resources, technical feasibility and experience design.

We, the betacup team, have had a very energetic and successful response from our peers in the design, experience, communication and engineering fields, and welcome PopTech network participation in finding a relevant world-changing solution.

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