NextGen Consortium Begins Piloting Sustainable Cup Solutions in San Francisco Bay Area

By Closed Loop Partners

February 18, 2020

Local cafes join the Consortium’s efforts to advance reusable, recyclable and/or compostable cup solutions in select pilots

SAN FRANCISCOFeb. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the NextGen Consortium — a multi-year consortium that addresses single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization and recovery of food packaging alternatives — announced the launch of reusable cup pilots in local cafes in the City of San Francisco and City of Palo Alto, CA.

Two of the 12 NextGen Cup Challenge winners – CupClub and Muuse – will pilot their respective “smart” reusable cup systems in open environments across clusters of local cafes on a rolling basis over the coming weeks. Live piloting offers these cup companies the opportunity to further test, learn and innovate according to the unique material, technical and operational changes necessary to facilitate a seamless and convenient transition to reusable cups for customers and companies. The size and complexity of the pilots, along with the customer feedback and data captured during them, will provide valuable insights into each cup’s technical feasibility, business viability, user desirability and circular resiliency. Alongside participating local cafes, the City of Palo Alto will be hosting cup drop off points in a number of civic buildings downtown and the City of San Francisco has helped to facilitate connections with local businesses.

Scaling the next generation cup won’t happen overnight; the cup system is complex and calls for multiple layers of testing. From the ability for baristas and customers to handle cups with ease, to alignment with diverse waste recovery systems after-use, testing is key. Reusable cup systems will need to be cost-competitive, integrate smoothly across diverse operations and technology platforms, minimize operational disruption, and have a positive impact on the environment and meet the convenience and performance standards customers know and trust in order to scale.

These pilots build on the NextGen Consortium’s work to advance the development of new, alternative cup solutions through the necessary iterative loops of innovation and testing before scaling. Additionally, in March, two NextGen Cup Challenge winners — Footprint LLC and PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited — will also begin pilots in cafes in Oakland, testing their single-use cup solutions that pioneer alternative materials for cups and cup liners that are recyclable and/or compostable. These ensure that the valuable materials in cups are kept in circulation and out of landfills and the natural environment.

The NextGen Consortium is managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. Starbucks and McDonald’s are founding partners, with The Coca-Cola Company, Yum! Brands, Nestlé and Wendy’s as supporting partners, The World Wildlife Fund as the advisory partner and global design firm IDEO as the innovation partner. IDEO is designing and running the pilots in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of the NextGen Consortium.

“We know finding a more sustainable cup solution will continue to require partnership and innovative thinking,” says Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer at Starbucks. “The ongoing work from the NextGen Cup Consortium provides valuable insights and learnings for all the members, us included, as we continue to explore a variety of ways to better manage our waste and reduce our environmental footprint.”

“We’re excited to see many of the winning ideas become potential solutions that can be tested in a customer-facing environment,” says Marion Gross, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, McDonald’s North America. “Finding a cup that can be scaled will require continued innovation, testing and honing of solutions, so these pilots are an important step forward on that journey.”

Together, the NextGen Consortium’s unprecedented collective of brands are helping to shape the ultimate form these cup innovations will take in the world. “As we strive to build a more circular economy in which we design out waste, unique partnerships are essential,” says Kate Daly, Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners. “Our work to engage diverse stakeholders, from brands to universities to NGOs, ensures that we create the necessary robust testing framework to help these cup teams succeed.”

These pilots represent one important initiative within the broader work of the NextGen Consortium to create long-lasting, positive change across the cup system. The NextGen Consortium takes a systems view, pairing upstream product innovation with downstream recovery infrastructure. The Consortium brings together leading food and beverage companies to work together pre-competitively to identify and scale solutions that work for the whole industry.

Participating Local Cafes

Reusable Cup Pilots: Palo Alto, CA


  • Coupa Cafe:
    • Ramona
      • 538 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA
    • Lytton
      • 111 Lytton Ave, Palo Alto, CA
    • GSB
      • 655 Knight Way, Stanford, CA
    • Green Library
      • 571 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94301
  • Verve Coffee Roasters
    • 162 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301


  • Cafe Venetia (drop point only):
    • 419 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • City of Palo Alto (drop point only):
    • City of Palo Alto City Hall
      • 250 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Coupa Cafe Y2E2 (drop point only):
    • 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA

Reusable Cup Pilots: San Francisco, CA


  • Andytown Coffee Roasters
    • 181 Fremont St, San Francisco
  • Ritual Coffee Roasters
    • 432b Octavia St, San Francisco
  • Equator Coffees
    • 222 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105
  • La Boulangerie de San Francisco, Hayes
    • 500 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Single-Use Cup Pilots: Oakland, CA

Footprint LLC:

  • Red Bay Coffee
    • 3098 East 10th Street Oakland, CA 94601
    • 2327 Broadway Oakland, CA 94612
    • 1503 Macdonald Ave Richmond, CA 94801
  • Equator Coffees
    • 175 Bay Pl, Oakland, CA 94610

PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited:

  • Snow White Coffee
    • 3824 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

About NextGen Consortium
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year, global consortium that addresses single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization, and recovery of food packaging alternatives. The NextGen Consortium is managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. Starbucks and McDonald’s are the founding partners of the Consortium, The Coca-Cola Company, Yum! Brands, Nestlé, and Wendy’s are supporting partners. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the advisory partner and IDEO is the innovation partner. Learn more at

About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a New York based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity, project finance and an innovation center. The firm invests in the circular economy, a new economic model focused on a profitable and sustainable future. Investors include many of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and family offices interested in investments that provide strong financial returns and tangible social impact. In 2018, Closed Loop Partners launched the Center for the Circular Economy, a New York City-based collaboration center for innovators to commercialize products, services and technologies that are leading the transition from a linear take, make, waste economy to a restorative one in which materials are shared, re-used, and continuously cycled. Learn more at

Contact: [email protected]

SOURCE Closed Loop Partners

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