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Betacup Challenge offers $20K for a better disposable coffee cup

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Think you can design a better disposable coffee cup? In the Starbucks-sponsored Betacup Challenge, $20,000 awaits those who think they have the winning idea.

Some 58 billion paper coffee cups are tossed in unrecycled trash each year.

Social entrepreneur Toby Daniels wants to change that.

On April 1, he's launching an online contest -- a collaborative solicitation, really -- to design a disposable cup that reduces the environmental impact of our collective coffee cup habit.

Sure, you can always use a reusable coffee mug. But that's rather inconvenient for most -- that's why disposables exist.

The name of the contest? The Betacup Challenge.

The prize for your idea: $20,000 in cash, courtesy of sponsor Starbucks, which has a goal of serving 100 percent of its beverages in reusable or recyclable cups by 2015.

First place gets $10,000, and five runners-up receive $2,000 each.

Here's Daniels explaining why he came up with the contest:

Got an idea? Sign up and submit it here. The contest ends on June 15.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure