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No liner? No problem.

New material for cups made of an advanced hydrophobic yet natural fiber dispenses with the need for a liner, simplifying recycling.

Photo of Cal Costic
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Idea Title

Infinity Cup

Idea Summary

Advances in materials science have made it possible to create natural fibers that are hydrophobic (repelling water). Such materials could hold liquids without the need for a plastic/wax lining.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

One of the challenges of recycling fiber cups in their present design is that the plastic or wax liner must be separated from the paper of the cup, which adds to the cost and makes the process less efficient. By using new hydrophobic materials, it may be possible to construct a plant-fiber cup that holds liquids without the need for a plastic lining. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup

How is your concept recoverable?

The Infinity Cup will be easier to recycle than traditional fiber cups because it only contains one material: paper. In addition, if one does get thrown away, it will break down much faster than a cup with a liner.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

What are the biggest challenges you are facing today? What are existing gaps in your solution?

The biggest challenge is still identifying which materials would be best for an application such as this. Choosing a material that will hold liquid without leaking is critical. Making the cup as cost-effective if not cheaper than current designs is also a must.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

I am a third-year student studying mechanical engineering and human-centered design at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In what city are you located?

Richmond, VA

In what country are you located?


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a top idea would allow me to test prototypes of Infinity Cup and investigate more thoroughly which materials are best suited for this application. It would also allow me to add fellow VCU students to my team as we carry the idea forward.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Cal Costic ,

Great to see you filling out your submission. I did want to make sure you knew your submission is currently in draft form. Was this your intention? With the deadline for a complete submission by this Friday, we recommend making your ideas public as soon as possible so our community can provide feedback. You can continue editing your submission until the final deadline!

Please click "publish" on your idea at the top of the page. Feel free to tag me with any questions you may have.