OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Replacing the fiber cup with a biodegradable cup recycling system

Create a system that would eliminate the fiber cup and use 100% biodegradable cups in its place.

Photo of Karla Ruiz
1 1

Written by

Idea Title

Idea Summary

Our idea is to eliminate the fiber cup entirely and reshape the recycling system by using 100% biodegradable cups.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

New York University Students

We want to reshape the recycling system and give the consumer the knowledge and choice to develop better recycling habits. With our research we discovered that a major obstacle for companies to supply these kind of cups is cost. The cost to make 100% biodegradable cups are high compared to the fiber cups that are currently in the market. We believe that eliminated the fiber cup entirely and introducing these cups in the market instead and making these cups so that they can be recycled would benefit the recycling process. To help cover the cost of the cup, the consumer would be charged a tax. In addition the consumer would also be encouraged to also bring their own reusable cup to be eligible for a incentive program that could offer a discount or a stamp card system that would give you a free cup of coffee on the 10th time you bring your own cup.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Hot Cup Only
  • Cold Cup Only
  • Cup Liner
  • Reusable System

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Supply Chain
  • Waste and Infrastructure

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Other

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thank you for sharing Karla Ruiz Interesting idea. It'd be great if you could provide us with a more specific scenario to understand better the overall system and how the customers will experience / perceive the system. You might also check this idea that takes a different take on costs