Innovation That Matters

Coffee cup sharing in NY aims to cut paper waste

Food & Drink

The Good To Go campaign aims to introduce a Citi Bike-style cup rental system for New York's cafés and bistros.

New Yorkers alone throw away around 7 million paper coffee cups every day, which is why there have been plenty of recent efforts to get consumers to either recycle or avoid using them. Products such as KeepCup — which encourage coffee lovers to use their own drinking containers — have been around since 2009, but now a new scheme called Good To Go aims to introduce a Citi Bike-style cup rental system for New York’s cafés and bistros.

Initiated by the Sustainable Cup Challenge at Brooklyn’s DO School, the project works by storing a number of reusable, durable coffee cups that feature the shape and lids that come with the usual to-go receptacles at coffee vendors around the city. Customers take the cup with them to their office, but are able to drop it off again at any other venue that is part of the scheme. The cups are then sanitized and redistributed around the city.

The team of students behind the idea is still working to find the most sustainable and taste-friendly material to use for the cups, but began trialling the scheme in April. At the moment, Brooklyn Roasting Company customers get a discount if they hand in a Good To Go cup, and the project could be rolled out to the whole city if successful. How else can businesses encourage consumers to recycle or reuse packaging?



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