Have you heard about the BetaCup challenge yet?
It’s a really neat contest that was created to seek out an innovative new design for reusable coffee cups. Hundreds of thousands of non-recyclable coffee cups are wastefully discarded every year, so organizers created the BetaCup challenge to see if anyone could come up with a better way of doing things.
The BetaCup contest accepts submissions from just about everyone, and other people can comment, rate, and vote on cup designs in a social media setting on Jovoto. The winner of the contest is slated to win a cool $20,000 (and tons of respect and good karma).
Coffee cups were chosen for this contest not necessarily because they are the biggest source of waste, but because they serve as a symbol of how some wasteful aspects of consumerism have gotten a bit out of control.
So what are campaign organizers looking for in the next great reusable coffee cup? According to contest guidelines, the jury is going to be on the lookout for a design that:
1. Significantly reduces the number of non-recycled coffee cups that are thrown away.
2. Requires minimal resources to implement the idea on a large scale.
3. Doesn’t rely on technology or inventions that don’t exist yet.
4. Is actually a feasible idea that has a good chance of being adopted by large audiences (reusable alternatives exist today, but they aren’t as common as they need to be).
Note: Another option would be to go with branded coffee mugs instead.
At the time of this post, the highest rated design is made from rice husk granulate, a natural byproduct of worldwide rice production. The designers of this 100% biodegradable, 100% compostable cup believe it would cost no more than 7-14 cents to manufacture them. It looks very promising, but we’ll see who emerges the real winner on June 15th.
We hope one day to be able to turn the winning BetaCup into a popular promo item, but until then, there are lots of eco-friendly promotional products for you to choose from, including bio-degradable coffee mugs that minimize waste and maximize brand exposure.