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Sleeve Sleeves

A sleeve for a paper cup, made out of sweatshirt sleeves.

Photo of Louis Schoeppach
7 12

Written by

Idea Title

Sleeve Sleeves

Idea Summary

A sleeve for a paper cup, made out of sweatshirt sleeves.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Grace Church High School

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

The Sleeve Sleeve is a sustainable alternative to corrugated paper cup sleeves, commonly used to protect the users hands from a hot beverage. The Sleeve Sleeve is produced from discarded consignment sweatshirts. Establishments such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill often dispose of sweatshirts that are shrunken, worn, or have holes. Our product can be made from the actual sleeve of the sweatshirt, or any other part of the sweatshirt that measures approximately 4 x 12in. A button is sewed onto one end of the strip of fabric, and button holes are cut and hemmed on the other end. Future prototypes would have multiple button holes to allow for different sized cups. These products are reusable, machine washable, and can easily be either homemade or mass produced for sale. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Cup Sleeve

How is your concept recoverable?

The Sleeve Sleeve’s whole concept is based on recoverability. The products are made from discarded consignment clothes. This means that they are products that have been discarded twice and the material will not be used again in its original intended purpose. Turning the fabric from these sweaters into Sleeve Sleeves allows the materials of the sweatshirts to begin a new stage of use.

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

We’ve incorporated sustainability into our Sleeve Sleeves by tackling two issues that are bad for our environment: Clothing waste and paper sleeves for coffee cups. The Sleeve Sleeve uses old sweatshirt sleeves to protect your hands from getting burned. The fashion industry is the biggest polluter, second only to the oil industry. Fast Fashion contributes to the world’s pollution with chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, pesticides, and carcinogens sewn into the fabric.

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

To start, our project will probably only affect one coffee shop, which in itself will be a challenge, but when our idea is successful we will have access to more resources, which will allow us to expand our concept. I think the biggest roadblock we have in front of us is getting that first business to give our product a chance. Once we have that first experience under our belt, it will give the product more legitimacy, and make it less of a risk for businesses to try out.

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

The Sleeve Sleeve is for the everyday coffee drinker, the regular. It’s for the person who want the convenience of not needing to stop and get a paper sleeve, so that they can keep walking and still keep their hands safe from a hot cup of coffee. The person who uses the Sleeve Sleeve is on the go, wants to save time, and will love this tool that will make the coffee experience more convenient and less wasteful.

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?

Our biggest bottleneck is our ability to produce: our team is very small, and so we wouldn’t be able to provide enough product to even one coffee shop. Another aspect of our solution is that people could do it themselves with their own used textiles, and to make that as easy as possible for the consumer, we would have to experiment more to find the best way to make it yourself, and then produce our own easy-to-follow and accessible tutorials.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

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

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

We are the Grace Church School environmental club! Some of our endeavors at our school include solar powered charging stations and getting rid of plastic utensils in our cafeteria.

In what city are you located?

New York City

In what country are you located?


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

In order for our idea to reach as many people as possible, we will make a number of Sleeve Sleeves available for sale, as well as provide instructions for people to make their own using discarded textiles. Being a top idea will aid this endeavor in many ways. The monetary reward will obviously help with the cost of materials that will be required to make and sell our product. But it's the help of experienced people that will enable us to approach coffee shops with our idea.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bianca Jebbia

Maybe a small envelope (made of recycled materials of course) with 2-3 different style buttons to choose from, with a print out of the pattern size to place and cut out shape/size of the “SLEEVE SLEEVE” and with a needle and thread per envelope? So all people need is their own sleeve to use.?? Great idea though, good job.

Photo of Spencer Ames

It is such a good idea to use clothes that have already been used! I would absolutely get this product.

Photo of Ismam Mursalin

This would be a nice idea, but the process of cleaning the fabric and putting a button on it would be a lot more expensive than just creating a plastic sleeve, especially if it is mass produced and used in the long term.

Photo of Louis Schoeppach

As we mentioned in our proposal, a great feature of the Sleeve Sleeve is that it is machine washable! So if it gets dirty, just throw it in with your weekly laundry. Also, Sleeve Sleeves would not have to be mass produced to the degree that paper sleeves are currently. Another great feature of the Sleeve Sleeve is that it's reusable! You buy one, wash it, and use it for life!

Photo of Anthony Zammit

It would be possible to use a coating such as, 3M Scotchgaurd (Trademark). If synthetic fibres are used it will be very washable, but best to stay away from synthetics. Best to use only natural fibres, they are a bit harder to keep clean if not guarded but the have insulation properties which synthetic fibres don't.

Photo of Austin Wong

Great idea! Looking forward to how you will develop the business model!

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Louis Schoeppach ,

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?

Please click "publish" on your idea at the top of the page to submit your idea. The deadline is in a few hours, TODAY at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time!