The Reusable Cup Challenge

Here is an interesting challenge to start reducing our consumption of paper and foam cups.

Kill the Cup – reducing waste from single-use coffee cups

Kill the Cup is a startup nonprofit that encourages people to bring a reusable cup when they get coffee. Did you know that 100 BILLION disposable cups are sent to U.S. landfills each year? Drew Beal and Mike Taylor, Kill the Cup’s co-founders, met in 2011 when they started grad school at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management. They launched Kill the Cup as their MBA capstone project in April 2013.


“This phenomenal team developed their first social venture project, Kill the Cup, in my class at the Rady School of Management. They were exceptional students – among the hardest working and most focused in the class. They learned, listened, persevered and made a real impact at UCSD in reducing the use of paper coffee cups and generating excitement around sustainability and corporate social responsibility.”

Most coffee cups are coated with plastic and can’t be recycled. Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal.

But what incentives are in place to encourage change? Ten cent discounts are insufficient, and most people grow tired of direct environmental messaging. At Kill the Cup, we make it FUN for people to bring reusable cups. When it comes to environmental behavior change, research shows that consumers are most likely to respond to social norms messaging.


After buying their morning coffee, we encourage people to upload photos with their reusable cups. Each photo serves as entry into weekly and grand prize raffles! These photos help establish the social norms that prove so effective.

Kill the Cup is raising funds to support a multi-university “$10,000 Reusable Cup Challenge” that will allow university student organizations to compete with one another to create the most environmental impact on campus.



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