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Rosie, the Symbiotic Cup.

Rosie is alive. Crafted from nature's abundant resources, this special To-Go-Cup will help feed local bees in urban spaces once used.

Photo of Marianne .
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Idea Title

We see plastic as a treasure, not trash.

Idea Summary

Rosie is a high-performance Biocup which contains special seeds in its clutch. Wherever discarded(landfilled, composted, swimming along the river), it will become seed bed for a special plant to grow.

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

Rather to rely on an extractive and linear economy, Rosie supports a regenerative and circular system where methane, wastes can bring Ecosystem Services (Closing materials loop, Boost natural assets).

Technical Standpoint

A new-generation material: Mixing Local fibers with Biopolymers for the Biocup's matrix.

The major barrier for bio-based plastics (Biopolymers) widespread acceptance as a viable commercial substitute to traditional plastic in Industries come from its relatively poor mechanical performances and high cost synthesis, due to high cost of raw materials.

 However, industries based on natural fibers and biopolymers are striving for excellence and have bright future prospect to replace petroleum-based packaging products, while maintaining environmental, health and performance standards:

  1. Biopolymers obtained from methane (natural process occurring with methanotroph bacterias in aqueous environment) could allow reducing costs on industrial scale. Methane, considered to be the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon CO2, is cheap, abundant, and unlike many alternative, does not need arable land nor rely on oil-based feedstocks. Biopolymers obtained from methane also allows to establish a sustainable strategy for the recovery of underused waste streams in a number of local industries (ex: municipal solid waste, wastewater treatment, brewing, food processing, agricultural residues). 
  2. The use of bio-fibers (ie. Locally sourced agricultural co-products, wheat bran, maize straw, Brewer's spent Grain, flax, juste, hemp etc.) will economically reinforce the poor mechanical properties of biopolymer matrice such as elasticity, toughness and will ensure the Biocup' stereo-regularity to meet health, safety and performance standards of petroleum-based products. 


Inspire: Think Nature

Biomimicry teaches us that everything in Nature is designed for a reason.

Rosie is a special biocup made from biodegradable methane and fiber agricultural wastes, which is seeded with heritage nectar-producing plants (or 'Bee-forage plants') in its clutch. Bee-forage are pollen-producing flowers that are highly attractive to bees and other beneficial organisms, which will naturally feed and help bring pollinating insects back in urban spaces. 

  1. Whatever will be the cup end-of-life (discarded, landfilled, composted, planted, ending in water sites…), Rosie will bio-breakdown (biodegradable cup matrix) and follow the natural seed dispersal process inspired from Nature: Zoochory, Hydrochory, Anthropochory. Relying on such natural system allow flexible management of the end-of-life product, prevents bacteria / fungi / actinomycetes inoculation of the cup matrix (which boost cup degradation process once in the soil) thus meet cup safety and performance standards. In addition, the cups are designed in such a way to engage user experience on global issues: decline of bees and its importance in our food systems, new integrated waste management of industries, plastic overuses awareness (see below). 
  2. The mechanism behind the beeforage plant dispersal strategy is to improve food resource availability in urban areas to attract local beneficial insects. The major reasons to the decline of pollinating insects in urban areas are the loss, fragmentation and degradation of their natural habitats, due to change in land tenure (ie. nesting and overwintering site, floral resources and plant resource diversity). Once discarded, Rosie will bio-breakdown and be used as seed bed for a bee forage plant to offset major land use change and secure the food base for pollinators: increase accessibility, density and interconnectivity of their natural habitats.


Mindset: From Linear to Systemic models

A Paradigm shift to the linear mindset of resource consumption (“Take-Make-Dispose”) to a more circular and integrated system is, from our perspective, a powerful agent of change in future food system. A regenerative economy offers the possibility to develop symbiotic relation between natural ecosystem and intense human activities for every economic fields.  

We see plastics as a treasure, because they basically are everywhere. Rather to see plastic as a trash, why not rethink its design to bring positive bioprocess in our food systems?

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • All of the Above

How have you incorporated additional sustainability attributes (beyond recoverability) into your solution?

In this project, the ecosystem service approach stresses the importance of an integrated waste management strategy to valorize global food service industry. First, the cups are sourced from underused waste materials which support ethical waste management strategies for local industries. Plus, the cups engage its users on a wider food industry issue: the sharpe declines of pollinating insect represent a threat to world food security and financial viability of our current agricultural system

What regions do you plan to address with your solution (and how will you accomplish this)?

Our goal is to craft new-generation green products to address universal issues in the global marketplace: Integrated waste management strategies, eliminate and engage on plastics overuse etc. We believe in local approaches to solve universal issues: we think our products to be locally adaptable and re-applicable in different regions around the world, understanding the regional technologies, opportunities for products development (ex. field study -which local materials should we use etc) in EU

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

We believe in the power of awareness through design. With a special design (two bees wings in the clutch with the logo "I am alive!" ) along a really simple utilisation scheme (see attachment), the user can interact with the cup and sow it in its garden, backyard, or simply compost it. We want to improve the cup experience by engage and inspire users on universal earth challenges such as integrated waste management, plastic elimination, role of bees in food system etc. This solution aims to disrupt the actual “Cup-To-Go” model, where the descent of the cup will be defined by its aptitude to turn into trash. Suitable for all, specially children, families, schools, business;

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Prototyping

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

There is immense opportunity in developing new bio-based products, but the real challenge is to design sustainable bio-based products. - Support and mentorship. We have resources and knowledge to conduct technical prototypes but we need greater collaborative, multidisciplinary environment to scale-up and improve our strategical performances (eg: Standardisation, Digital Marketing, Business plan) - Ecoconception. Process optimization (Test, Fail, Adapt); risk of migration issue in the cup matrix (ie. crossed mass transfer of food contact material and food constituent), water permeability, price reactivity compared to petroleum-based products. - Measure. The final results of our products should be possible to measure in an exact way –(idea: distribution of connected digital Sensors to willing users to measure bees activities in the city?)

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping
  • Growth and Scaling
  • Fundraising / Finance

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

Hi! My name is Marianne, I am 24, just graduated from the European MSc Agroecology. To be short, I am passionate about complex design challenges in our food systems. I am working with a team of scientists to develop high-performance green materials.

In what city are you located?

Nottingham (UK), Lille (FR).

In what country are you located?

United Kingdom, France.

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)


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

- Take part of the New Plastics Economy - Next steps design thinking process (Prototype) - Explore new green materials at competitive economics, made from nature’s most abundant resources (ex: agricultural co-products, vegetative tissues, fungi, seaweed etc); Opening up to others business lines (agriculture, medicine, packaging such as Toys Packaging for children); - Bring social and handcrafted dimension to the project (Facilitate occupational integration of disabled workforce)

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

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