Our Story

  • The Beginning

    The NextGen Consortium is rooted in efforts to rethink foodservice packaging. The Consortium’s first initiative, NextGen Cup, was launched to advance recoverable solutions for the fiber, hot and cold, to-go cup system––a critical step to unlock wider innovations and overcome the global infrastructural challenges of single-use packaging.

    Through our NextGen Cup Challenge, a global design competition, and our NextGen Circular Business Accelerator, we identified innovative, alternative cup solutions to bring to scale, finding opportunities for reuse models that prolong a material’s lifespan, while simultaneously working to align new solutions with the broader cup recovery infrastructure. It’s critical that we know exactly what happens to cups at end-of-use so that we can better understand how to keep their valuable materials in circulation and out of landfills. 

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  • The Path Forward

    Moving forward, the NextGen Consortium is expanding its impact beyond the to-go cup, now advancing the design, commercialization and recovery of a variety of foodservice packaging types, and the systems that support circularity.

    The Consortium draws upon the experience and expertise of brands, municipalities, material recovery facilities and manufactures to scale its impact. Beyond reimagining the life cycle of the fiber in to-go cups, the Consortium addresses the issues of packaging waste on multiple fronts: exploring a variety of packaging innovations, testing reuse & refill models to reduce the overall use of packaging materials, and strengthening the materials recovery & recycling systems to support this transition.

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Consortium Partners

Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy manages the Consortium. Founding Partners Starbucks and McDonald’s lead the unprecedented pre-competitive collaboration amongst consumer brands committed to advancing foodservice packaging solutions, including the hot and cold fiber cup. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are Sector Lead Partners. JDE Peet’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands are Supporting Partners. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the Environmental Advisory Partner.

Our Value Chain Partners

Partnerships with suppliers, recyclers and composters help to ensure new cup solutions get successfully recovered at their highest value.

Our Team

Kate Daly

Managing Director, Center for the Circular Economy

Kate Daly leads the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, an innovation center for research, analysis and collaboration to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in which materials are shared, re-used and continuously cycled.

Bridget Croke

Managing Director

Bridget Croke leads external affairs including investor partnerships, industry partnerships, communications and special projects at Closed Loop Partners.

Daniel Liswood

Senior Project Director

Daniel is a Senior Project Director at the Center for the Circular Economy where he manages the NextGen Consortium, a multi-year partnership of food-service industry leaders, founded by Starbucks and McDonald’s, to address single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization, and recovery of food packaging alternatives.

Carol Lobel

Senior Director, Center for the Circular Economy

Carol is a Senior Director at our Center for the Circular Economy. Prior to joining Closed Loop Partners, Carolina helped found and scale Loop by TerraCycle, a first-of-its-kind global platform for reuse.

Georgia Sherwin

Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships

Georgia works across platforms at Closed Loop Partners on strategic initiatives and partnerships, helping to connect the dots and facilitate the growth of the circular economy.

Anh Giang

Project Innovation Director

As the Project Innovation Director at the Center for the Circular Economy, Anh leads innovation pilots and consumer behavior labs across the NextGen Consortium and the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. Her work spans the entire value chain to tackle infrastructure challenges to support the transition to a circular economy.

Dr. Sandeep Kulkarni

Technical Advisor

Dr. Sandeep Kulkarni, the President of KoolEarth Solutions Inc., is currently supporting the NextGen Consortium as a technical advisor. He has over two decades of industry experience in the area of sustainable packaging, including paper and bioplastics-based packaging.

Michael Sadowski


Michael Sadowski works with the NextGen Consortium on stakeholder engagement and industry partnerships to advance cup recovery.