Cup deposits, Tesla patents and verified McDonald’s cows

Coffee cup sharing

It’s hard to separate New Yorkers from their on-the-go lifestyle. In an effort to challenge the single-use cup conundrum, fellows at the international DO School for social entrepreneurs partnered with the design and consulting firm Pilot Projects.

The DO School helps educate and train social entrepreneurs to get projects off the ground. Eighteen fellows from 16 countries, in an initiative called the Challenge Lab, set themselves a 10-week deadline to explore the complex social and economic context of the single-use disposable coffee cup, propose a viable alternative, and implement the solution as a pilot programme.

“The single-use coffee cup is what we call a ‘wicked’ problem, tangled in layers of social and material problems,” says Scott Francisco, founder of Pilot Projects, who served as the director of the
Challenge Lab.

The team researched a host of coffee cup alternatives, including recyclable and biodegradable single use cups and reusables. The best solution the group ultimately identified was a hybrid between reusable and single use: for a $5 fee, people could buy membership in a coffee cup sharing programme at the pilot testing site Brooklyn Roasting Company, and keep the lid as their membership card. Participants were at liberty to take the cup wherever they wanted, and return it back to the coffee shop whenever they wanted, where it was subsequently cleaned for the next...

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coca-cola  coffee  food waste  google  McDonald's  patents  Sainsbury's  Tesla  water management 

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