Not content with offering discounts to customers who bring in their own travel mugs, Starbucks has now thrown its weight behind “betacup,” a contest to “eliminate paper cup consumption through the design of a more convenient alternative to the reusable coffee mug.” Some of the ideas submitted so far include a hemp-based cup (we have some ideas about how to recycle that one), cups made from coconut shells, and inflatable, reusable cups.
The contest was organized “to reduce the number of non-recyclable cups that are thrown away every year by creating a more convenient alternative to the reusable coffee cup,” though the competition’s web site states that coffee cups are just the beginning;
Paper cups are just part of the problem.
The amount of waste resulting from consumer packaging every year is mind-boggling. If you’re reading this and you live in the North America, then you’re contributing to the 250 million tons of garbage thrown away every year.
Reducing the number of paper coffee cups consumed is our initial attempt and reducing this overall figure.
We have chosen the coffee cup not because it’s necessarily the biggest perpetrator, but because it’s a symbol of how consumerism has got completely out of control.
Entries are being accepted through June 15th; if your idea is picked as the best, you’ll get $10,000. You retain ownership of your idea, so if you come up with an idea for a biodegradeable coffee cup made out of cultured slug slime, you’ll still own it, and can patent it, shop it around, and get rich from it (too late; that one’s mine!).