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The betacup challenge launches an Open Collaboration Initiative to Reduce Paper Cup Consumption

Starbucks Sponsors Online Contest to Spur Creative Problem-Solving

Submitted by: The betacup

Categories: Activism, Environment

Posted: Mar 29, 2010 – 11:00 AM EST


NEW YORK, Mar. 29 /CSRwire/ - On April 1 the betacup will launch an online contest to engage creative thinkers in solving the disposable cup waste problem through open collaboration. Starbucks Coffee Company is sponsoring the contest as part of its aim to serve 100 percent of its hand-crafted beverages in reusable or recyclable cups by 2015.

"Finding effective solutions to the disposable cup waste problem will be a challenge – a good solution will need to include product design, communications and incentives to change consumer behavior, and work within service and recycling infrastructures," said Shaun Abrahamson from Colaboratorie Mutopo, a group of mass collaboration specialists who co-founded the betacup. "We think this is an ideal task to present to a large global community of coffee drinkers, many of whom have likely thought about this issue and possible solutions."

The contest will take place on the betacup's partner platform, a leading mass collaboration community for innovators and creatives. Anyone can submit an idea on how to reduce paper cup consumption and promote adoption of environmentally-friendly alternatives. Ideas will be open to the public for discussion, and community members and jurors will be able to provide feedback, allowing collaborators to refine and update their submissions through June 15, when the contest comes to a close.

Starbucks has provided $20,000 in cash prizes to be awarded for the most innovative ideas. The participant who submits the best idea, determined by an expert panel, will receive a $10,000 cash prize. In addition, participants whose ideas are among the top five selected by the community of collaborators will each be awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

"Given the complexity of the disposable cup waste issue, we need a broad range of stakeholders to become involved in finding solutions. In addition to working with local municipal governments, materials suppliers and cup manufacturers to improve recycling infrastructures, we believe in harnessing the creativity of environmentally conscious individuals to identify new alternatives," said Jim Hanna, Starbucks director of Environmental Impact. "We're looking forward to seeing how people respond to the challenge."

The betacup has also secured Core77 as media partner. Core77 is a New York-based design network supporting the global design community through online services, resources, and inspiration. "We are thrilled to bring this opportunity to the professional designers, design students, and design enthusiasts in our community, and believe that an extraordinary number of inspired and innovative solutions will emerge," said Allan Chochinov, Editor in chief of

The project is further supported by Denuo & CSRwire. Denuo is an innovations unit of Publicis Groupe and will provide communications strategy and community management expertise to the project. CSRwire is the world's number one resource for corporate social responsibility news as well as the hub for an influential community that has realized the value and necessity of Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability.

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About the betacup

The betacup was started by Toby Daniels, a social entrepreneur, together with Colaboratorie Mutopo. In early 2009 they began looking at the problem and discovered that each year, in North America alone, over 58 billion paper coffee cups are going into landfills. Through consumer research, they discovered reusable alternatives work well, but aren't widely used because they are less convenient than paper cups.


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