Yesterday the winner of The Betacup Challenge, a Starbucks-sponsored design contest held to tackle the overwhelming amount of coffee cup waste accrued each year, was declared.
The winning entry (see below), which was chosen by a jury of designers, engineers and entrepreneurs out of a pool of 430 designs, was surprisingly simple: It’s a chalkboard. Customers who bring in a reusable mug can put a mark on the board, and every tenth guest receives a free beverage.
“There are plenty of great reusable mugs out there,” the entry says. “But what people really need is an incentive to make the behavior change — a free cup of coffee and a bit of peer pressure.”
Shaun Abrahamson of Colaboratorie Mutopo, the social production consultancy that organized the challenge, explained that the jury was looking for an idea that could be implemented to make a difference right away — which may explain why more creative concepts, like the 100% compostable cup made out of rice husk disposables or the barcode consumers could attach to reusable mugs to redeem rewards and gain social awareness, weren’t chosen.
Colaboratorie Mutopo first began working on the contest in May 2009 in an effort to bring the best minds together to eliminate paper cup waste via design.
Every year, 58 billion paper cups are thrown away, rather than recycled. 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water are used to make these paper cups — enough energy to power 53,000 homes, according to the Environmental Defense Organization. That doesn’t even include the resources involved in the coffee itself, which are enormous.
“We rush in to Starbucks and grab a coffee without thinking about any of the consequences,” Abrahamson explained in an interview. ” We wanted to organize a forum where people could share their ideas [to solve the problem].”
Starbucks sponsored the contest with $20,000 in prizes: $10,000 was awarded to the entry selected by the jury, and $2,000 was given to the five ideas with the most votes from the site’s community.
Entries were posted between April 1 and June 1, during which time visitors to the site could leave comments which the designers could then use to improve their designs. “We were blown away by how far people… went to elevate [their designs] once they got feedback,” Abrahamson said.
It’s not yet clear whether Starbucks will implement the winning entry — or any of the entries — to achieve the company’s goal of serving 100% of its beverages in reusable or recyclable cups by 2015. Even if Starbucks isn’t interested in incorporating any of the proposed ideas, Abrahamson said that his team is determined to find people and companies who are. “Obviously we’re hoping that [interest] comes from Starbucks,” he added.
What do you think of the challenge and the winning design?
By Mashable: http://www.mashable.com