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Cupclub wins Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize


Cupclub was awarded a share of the $2m New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize in the ‘Reinventing coffee-to-go’ category at the Our Ocean conference in Malta on 6 October 2017.

The challenge set by the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, which is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with OpenIDEO, was taken up by more than 600 innovators from over 60 countries. Innovators were asked to come up with solutions to reuse small-format plastic packaging and stop them from ending up as waste in landfill sites or the ocean. More than 100 billion disposable coffee cups are sold globally every year, yet almost none are recycled.

“To be recognised by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a thought leader in transitioning to a circular economy, is a huge stamp of approval,” said Safia Qureshi, founder and CEO of the returnable coffee cup system, Cupclub. “The rate at which we currently consume resources is nearly double the rate at which we produce them.”

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation collaborates with Global Partners (Google, NIKE, Inc., Coca Cola Company, MARS etc.), and businesses, universities, emerging innovators, governments, cities and affiliate organisations in its network, to work towards a circular economy. The judging panel for the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize included Jeff Seabright (CSO, Unilever), Sandeep Kulkarni (Global R&D Lead, PepsiCo) and Mike Barry (Sustainable Business Director, Marks & Spencer).

The winning innovators will join a 12-month accelerator programme, in collaboration with the US innovation hub Think Beyond Plastic, to transform their designs into marketable and scalable solutions.

Cupclub will be launching in London at the beginning of 2018.

Coffee retailers interested in participating in initial taste tests are encouraged to get in touch.