Sprudge is late in reporting on the Starbucks sponsored “Betacup Challenge” program. It's in full swing now and the winners will be announced sometime after June 15th.
The Betacup Challenge is purposely open-ended: design a coffee cup that addresses the problem of disposable coffee cups, and upload the concept to the Web. As a result, some of the 200-plus submissions are disposable cups that use alternative materials, some are reusable cups with a built-in incentive for actually bringing them back day after day, and some are entire infrastructures of cups and specialized recycling systems. Take, for example, the inflatable plastic “air cup” that claims to use less than half the material that a traditional coffee cup does, is already insulated to eliminate the need for cardboard sleeves, and which could be disposed at “cause recycling” locations that would funnel their reconstruction into materials for humanitarian projects, like water jugs and plastic lumber.