NextGen Consortium Launches Reusable Cup Pilots In San Francisco

The NextGen Consortium announced the launch of reusable cup pilots in local cafes in the City of San Francisco and City of Palo Alto, California. The local cafes have joined the Consortium’s efforts to advance reusable, recyclable and/or compostable cup solutions in select pilots.

NextGen Consortium is a multi-year consortium that addresses single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization and recovery of food packaging alternatives.

It is managed by New York-based investment firm Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. Starbucks and McDonald’s are founding partners. Coca-Cola, Yum! Brands, Nestlé and Wendy’s are supporting partners.

The World Wildlife Fund is the advisory partner and global design firm IDEO as the innovation partner for the consortium. IDEO is assisting in designing and running the pilots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

New York City-based Center for the Circular Economy is a collaboration center for innovators to commercialize products, services and technologies that are leading the transition from waste economy to a restorative one in which materials are shared, re-used, and continuously cycled.

The consortium launched the NextGen Cup Challenge in 2018, seeking to identify and commercialize existing and future solutions for the single-use, hot and cold fiber cup system. It aimed to push the boundaries of sustainable design and material innovation to solve a prevalent global waste issue.

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.

The Challenge narrowed nearly 500 submissions from over 50 countries down to 12 winners, who were eligible to receive a portion of funding up to $1 million. The 12 winning solutions have the potential to turn the 250 billion fiber to-go cups used annually from waste into a valuable material in the recycling system.

Two other NextGen Cup Challenge winners – Footprint LLC and PTT MCC Biochem Co. Ltd. – will also begin pilots in March in cafes in Oakland, testing their single-use cup solutions. These ensure that the valuable materials in cups are kept in circulation and out of landfills and the natural environment.

These pilots build on the NextGen Consortium’s work to advance the development of new, alternative cup solutions.

These solutions will also need to be cost-competitive, integrate smoothly across diverse operations and technology platforms, minimize operational disruption, and have a positive impact on the environment.

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