NEXTGEN CUP CHALLENGE
REIMAGINING THE FIBER CUP
In 2018, we launched the NextGen Cup Challenge, an open, global design competition seeking to identify and commercialize existing and future solutions for the single-use, hot and cold fiber cup system. Students, suppliers, entrepreneurs, designers and businesses were invited to submit their innovative ideas. The winners of the Challenge were announced in February 2019; awardees received a portion of funding up to $1 million.
After a rigorous four-month review process by an esteemed group of judges, including NextGen Consortium business leaders, as well as experts in recycling, composting and packaging, the Challenge narrowed nearly 500 submissions from over 50 countries down to 12 winners.
These 12 winning solutions––broadly categorized into innovative cup liners, new materials and reusable cup service models––have the potential to turn the 250 billion fiber to-go cups used annually from waste into a valuable material in the recycling system.
Category One: Reusable Cup Service Models
The cups made by these companies aren’t single-use, they just keep cycling––remaining in service by harnessing the power of technology and design.
CLUBZERØ (formerly CupClub)
Category Two: Innovative Cup & Cup Liners
These companies are rethinking the polyethylene plastic liners in cups that can currently make to-go cups difficult to recycle.
PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited
Sun Chemical Corporation
Category Three: New Materials
These companies are using cutting edge, plant-based materials in their cups so that they are compostable.
Six of the 12 winners joined the NextGen Circular Business Accelerator.
The NextGen Consortium has continued to work with teams that entered the NextGen Circular Business Accelerator, as well as those that didn’t, to help refine their solutions, conduct recyclability and recoverability tests and find pathways to market.
NextGen Challenge Judges
Executive Chair, IDEO
Executive Director, GreenBlue; Director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition
President and CEO, Encorp Pacific, Canada
Founding Partner at Legacy Knight: Multi-Family Office (formerly Managing Director, Mark Cuban Companies)
Head of Social Impact, Glovo (formerly Director of Global Performance and Industrial Customers, Sustainable Development Department at SUEZ)
Dr. Susan Selke
Director, Center for Packing Innovation and Sustainability, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Michigan State University
Board Chair and CEO, The Seydel Companies and The Chemol Company; Member of the Board of Directors, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, USA
Head, Plastic Waste + Business and Deputy Director, PSE, Sustainability R&D, WWF