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RECYCABLE fiber cups

I had this idea alone. I'd like to take it further and build a team around this project.

Photo of Marilys Tu Mai Tran The Tri
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Idea Title

Fiber cup 2.0 or Recycups or something else...

Idea Summary

I would like to make the recycling of the fiber cups possible in a local way of recycling.

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

- The lid : PLA,PET or PP -The cup : cardboard only -The additionnel layer( v : PLA, PET or PP, in either case, it would be the same matter than the lid to maximise the recycling of this componants.

Worldwide, each year, 250 billion of cups are thrown away and end up in landfill or are burned. The recyclage of these cups is not effectuate for many reasons, first because they are not designed as recycable cups from the beginning, second because user and brands don't play correctly their role in the sorting of these cups and mainly because even if these cups were proprely sorted, it's still a difficult process to separate the plastic liner from the carboard (only a few companies are providing this service).
The idea of the project is to make possible the recycling of the fiber cups by simply design the plastic liner as an additionnal component of the object. During the use, this additionnal liner ensure the sealing of the cup. At the end of the use, it's simply removed by pulling on it off.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Cup Lids
  • Cup Liner

How is your concept recoverable?

The idea solve the recoverability problem of the los of raw materials as cardboard and plastic. Recycling these materials is a way of reduce the global waste that they provoque.

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

The solution would use FSC certificate cardboard and recycled/recyclable plastics. This project treats the problem of recycling the present plastified carboard.

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

I think that the project is a first step in reducing plastic and cardboard waste and it could work everywhere : it could be adapted for any kind of brand or any kind of cup size. I would like to propose the product to different brands. International (Starbucks, Mc Donalds) and local. The project is also to target and mutualise recycling local actors and brands to make the recycling of the cardboard and plastic very important and efficient.

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

The main beneficiairies of this project would be the brands and the material industrie because waste is an market. To be sustainable, this new fiber cup has to be imagined from the conception to the production like an recyclable object. It means that it's not only a project about re-think the fiber cup it is also about imagining a new filiaire of recycling in a circular economy. The users and the brands have a main role to play in the life of the project.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

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

- market access - industrial techniques of production - business plan

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Sustainability and Recoverability
  • Legal

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

I am a master student in Industrial Design. I did a 6 month internship in service design (design thinking) last year. At the moment, I'm working on different projects about sustainable design.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


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

In every way, I have ideas but not support. I think i could learn a lot of this experience and built a team around the project.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marilys Tu Mai Tran The Tri

First, hello.
Thanks for your very well documented return on my idea.
The idea of the project is not to find an alternative to the cardboard. It is to solve the present and worldwide issue of the recycling of the cups. Like i wrote down on my page : the cardboard is plastified with PE (polyetylene). This makes weither the plastic or the cardboard almost impossible to recycle because very difficult to separate from each other in the end.
To response to this issue, I propose a project of research and developing around the recycling of the cups. I think, at the moment, there is no magic alternative to cardboard. But what we can already do, is to recycle this carboard, not just throw away and let decompose because it would increase to much the entropy of materials. The production of carboard requieres ressources and energy. So it is not in the best ecological and economical interest to throw the cardboard away after a single use (like it happens with fiber cups nowadays).
Second, sure I could develop the design of the fiber cup to be more stable and avoid at best the issue of overturning of the cup. Also, the idea is not to eliminate the plastic liner, but just to turn it into a plastic layer you can remove by pulling on it at the end of the use. So, the new plastic layer would still ensure the sealing of the cup and avoid the leaks...
I hope I made myself clear.

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