Starbucks’ $10M Challenge Will Pay You To Design A Safer Cup

Mekelle Bess
March 29, 2018
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After years of trial and error, research and energy put into trying to engineer the most environmentally friendly coffee cup, Starbucks is now turning to its customers for ideas.

And they’re willing to pay you too!

Starbucks $10 Million Grant

Are you an inventor? Scientist? Creative thinker? Or problem solver? If you are, then you just might be up for this challenge—to create an environmentally safe coffee cup. You see, most coffee cups are an environmental hazard because they are made of cardboard and a thin layer of plastic.  They are difficult to recycle and can take up to 20 years to decompose.

As an industry, the progress on developing a safer cup has been stalwart and Starbucks is frustrated. Because it’s not moving fast enough, they have committed to a $10M grant in partnership with Closed Loop Partners and its Center for the Circular Economy to launch the NextGen Cup Challenge.

NextGen Cup Challenge

Through this challenge, Starbucks will award accelerator grants to entrepreneurs working on ideas that will lead to the development of a more sustainable cup. They are inviting innovators and entrepreneurs with financial, technical and expert resources to “fast-track global solutions, help get those solutions to shelf through the recovery system and back into the supply chain,” said Rob Kaplan, managing director of Closed Loop Partners.

Research continues

As this Challenge kicks off, research will continue for a new bio-liner made from plant-based materials to be used in the new cup. Developing a liner like this that can withhold hot liquids is incredibly difficult, but the solution is out there somewhere and Starbucks is determined to find it.

Starbucks is a leading company for environmental safety and this is just one impactful way you and I can join them in this quest for a safer coffee cup!

If you don’t think you’ve got the $10m idea, well you can still find some ways to drink Starbucks coffee for free every day.