Starbucks offers $10m reward for coffee cup innovation

Starbucks has announced plans to invest $10m (£7m) in funding entrepreneurs to develop a recyclable, compostable coffee cup solution within the next three years.

The coffee shop chain has partnered with Closed Loop Partners, a platform that invests in sustainable consumer goods, recycling and the development of the circular economy, to launch a NextGen Cup Challenge that will award accelerator grants to start-ups tackling the challenge of single-use cups.

Starbucks is looking for an innovation that would allow cups around the world to be diverted from landfill and composted or recycled.

“No one is satisfied with the incremental industry progress made to date, it’s just not moving fast enough. So today, we are declaring a moon shot for sustainability to work together as an industry to bring a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market, with a three-year ambition,” said Colleen Chapman, vice president of Starbucks global social impact overseeing sustainability.

Throughout its development, the solution will be open source so that other businesses can contribute to efforts to create a circular economy for the 600 billion paper and plastic cups that are distributed globally each year.

“We want to make sure this technology is available to everyone because it’s the right thing to do,” said Andy Corlett, director of packaging R&D for Starbucks. “The idea of environmental sustainability in packaging is not just a Starbucks issue. It’s a global issue. Anything that gets us closer to that goal is not something we want to keep to ourselves.”

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