According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated 500 billion disposable coffee cups are used globally each year, of which Australia contributes 1.84 billion. This is equivalent to 1,400 cups per second globally. The environmental impact of disposable coffee cups is significant. The production of these cups requires the use of trees, water, and energy. The disposal of these cups also contributes to air and water pollution. In addition, the plastic lining on these cups can take hundreds of years to break down.
Enter the Beyond Cups Challenge, a novel program being run by the Queensland Government in partnership with Innovation Architects, aimed at reducing the use of single use coffee cups and lids as a part of a strategic plan to rule out single use plastics over the next five years.
Former Minister for Environment and Science, the Hon Meaghan Scanlon said, “The Queensland Government is committed to stamping out plastic pollution and reducing single-use plastics, and we’re calling on some of the state’s creative thinkers and innovators to help us achieve this goal by applying for this program.”
“Through the innovation challenge, the Queensland Government is ensuring the state’s valued small businesses and hospitality sector can successfully move away from harmful plastics.”
Beyond Cups is an innovation challenge seeking to discover and support businesses and entrepreneurs that have solutions to reduce our reliance on single-use coffee cups and lids, as well as slushie cups and takeaway bowls.
“The program will play a vital role in supporting the delivery of the five-year roadmap to take action on single-use items that are made wholly or in part of plastic, in collaboration with Queensland’s industries and communities,” said Philippe Ceulen, IA Principal and Challenge Lead.
There have been a number of trials globally including bringing your own reusable cup, reusable cup swap schemes, the use of biodegradable, bioplastics and compostable cups and paper cups with water based coatings.
Mr Ceulen said the unique, ‘hands on’ program would be delivered across three stages from July through to November and offer workshops, one-to-one coaching by experts and mentors, and importantly, open doors and provide access to an invaluable network of customers and industry partners.
Up to ten companies will reach the commercial readiness stage of which five will have the opportunity to receive grants of up to $100,000 to implement their proof-of-concept projects with an industry partner.
“This is an incredibly significant offering, so we are putting the call out now for startups working on innovative solutions that relate to the challenge and to businesses in the food and beverage, hospitality and entertainment sectors who wish to partner with the program to implement new solutions.”
Applications are now open through beyondcups.com