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Cup2Share tackles the challenge of reuse and compostability by separating the conventional cup, into 2 parts and allowing a shareable system

Photo of Francesco Stumpo
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Idea Title

Grown by soil, Reused by you

Idea Summary

"Having your cake and eating it too” in the sense that we will have a compliant plant-based high-quality multiple-reuse cup that will eventually be sent to the compostable pile w/o an oil-based linen.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

OpenIDEO San Francisco Chapter

Website (if applicable)


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

CUP2SHARE aims to separate the two main components of the cup so that in the process, we move one step closer to having a fully compostable and reusable solution by multiple users in a systematic way.

CUP2SHARE - It’s like the saying, “having your cake and eating it too” in the sense that we will have a compliant plant-based high-quality multiple-reuse cup that will eventually be sent to the compostable pile without an oil-based liner. This cup will contain removable liners that may still be oil based at the start, but with a liner that can be removed for disposal. As liner technology advances, liners will be sold separately and would also be compostable. Eventually, the goal would be to have a compliant cup with a liner included that is compostable in a high-temperature compost facility.

Reuse is key to our concept to reduce the amount of waste and to educate students/people about their choices and how to make better choices for our soil and environment health. 

Sanitary sleeves - will be placed around the cup by the establishments upon delivery of a hot drink. Upon finishing a cup of coffee using a CUP2SHARE concept cup, the cup can be dropped off or reused at a number of campus drop off locations or at the drinking establishment for a ‘drop-off’ discount on their next drink. 

Mobile APP - Each cup reuse will count as a soil credit upon pick up of another CUP2SHARE drink at any participating establishment. After 10 soil credits, they get a free drink and one carbon credit. On a college campus, the CUP2SHARE concept will be part of the college mission to reduce waste and educate their students to build up their CARBON credit and help rebuild the soil. After 10 carbon credits (100 soil credits), the student can choose to receive a CUP2SHARE logo baseball style cap, t-shirt of seeds to grow their own edible garden.

CUP2SHARE Edible Garden - After the first six months of reuse and composting, the campus will break ground on an edible garden using the soil regenerated from the compostable cups. This will not only be a place to grow edible food but will be part of the branding and concept of this cup. 

CUP2SHARE drop off stations - will be placed around campus at the main foot traffic areas to make it easy to drop off cups. Participating establishments will also have designated locations to drop off their used cups.  

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Cup Sleeve
  • Cup Liner
  • Reusable System
  • Other

How is your concept recoverable?

The CUP2SHARE product is recoverable in every phase. The external cup can be used 100 times before it is itself composted and locally recovered. The branded non-petroleum based liner/sleeve units are recovered in the same way but on a much more rapid cycle. By focusing on a college campus, we plan to get form a partnership with their on-site composting facility. This addresses the needs of many campuses to be zero-carbon and could get carbon credits by doing their own composting. With this strong alignment of purpose, we hope the CUP2SHARE concept will find traction on all green university campuses. We would encourage composting at the source, on the campus facility, for example, to close the loop on the system and bring the cup full circle.

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

CUP2SHARE uses a durable plant-based cup that could be used to potentially 100 times before disposal into a compostable nearby site. In the process, users will peel off the internal membrane which would take advantage to incorporate a non-petroleum based linear that meets industry standards, could be in layers, and broken down over time. The intent here is to not only promote shareability but also a conscious point and expand critically the life cycle of a cup.

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

We will focus on the San Francisco Bay Area which has a reputation for being ahead of the curve in technology, green energy, edible schoolyards and more. To start we will focus on partnering with the UC Berkeley campus and have a closed system to test our ideas and get buy-in from the university and eventually the city of Berkeley.

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

Our target market is the 18-25 year old college students at UC Berkeley who are already technologically savvy, environmentally aware and are hoping to change the world.

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 largest challenge we currently face is around finding/prototyping the liners. We need resources to be able to create more high fidelity prototypes/select the appropriate materials for testing as we swiftly move towards launch. Second, our team needs a small amount of financial support in order to develop the partnerships that will set our pilot program up for success. Success for us will be defined by iterating often and coming up with new ideas we never knew existed. We want this to be a circular design - in a sense from cradle to grave - where we can regenerate soil in the end and continue the cycle with this cup.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Waste and Infrastructure
  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping

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

Our team has been shaped by various Bay Area residents, from Berkeley to San Francisco and San Jose. We are illustrators, designers, creative entrepreneurs, urban farmers and individuals eager to promote positive social change through design.

In what city are you located?

We are based in Berkeley, California.

In what country are you located?


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

Intersectional partnership.

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

Being a top idea is an essential step that will give us the opportunity to dive deeper into the design and prototyping phase on the two-part cup system. The funding provided will allow us to research sustainable materials and recoverable options to fully develop the idea. It will also allow us to do some rapid prototyping and testing with real examples as we move into the test phase. Our goal is to have multiple prototypes to test live on campus and iterate the design and branding phase.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email
  • OpenIDEO social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nikhil Sinha

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Photo of Anthony Zammit

unique idea

Photo of Anthony Zammit

Will they be clean after taking out a layer, any residue remaining ?

Photo of James Getomer

I love that you're thinking about this from the perspective of the entire system. Great job!