Building a Better Cup

Starbucks is crowdsourcing its way to a better cup.

It’s not quite up there with building a better mousetrap, but the coffee mega-giant does have quite the task on its hands. 58 billion paper cups end up in the garbage every year, and manufacturing those cups takes 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water. Consumers are encouraged to bring their own cups, but most of us still go for convenience when given the chance. So Starbucks has a plan to switch to 100% recycled and reused cups by 2015, and it’s offering quite the bounty for the design that lets them do so.

Starbucks has sponsored betacup, an initiative started last year in pursuit off the best ideas to eliminate paper cup consumption and methods to bring these ideas to life. The sponsorship allows betacup to offer financial incentives to those who create the best solution to the paper cup problem. Entries are collected through jovoto, a contest site that allows for feedback, collaboration, and ratings. By keeping the process open, betacup hopes users will work with each other to create a truly great idea. The 5 top-rated ideas win $2000 each, and a jury-selected winner will take home $10,000.

(Image: trash mountain, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wwworks’s photostream)

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