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McDonald’s partners with Starbucks to invest in research for recyclable cup

McDonald’s has joined Starbucks as a founding member of a group attempting to commercialize a recyclable and compostable cup globally.

McDonald’s is committing $5m in partnership with New York-based recycling and sustainability investment platform to launch the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge announced earlier this year, bringing the total funds dedicated to the Challenge to $10m.

The NextGen Cup Challenge is set to launch in September with up to $1M in funding to innovators and entrepreneurs working to develop a global recyclable and/or compostable cup solution.

Marion Gross, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer, McDonald’s USA, said the fast food giant planned to use its reach to help find a ‘scalable, lasting global solution’.

Colleen Chapman, vice president of global social impact, added: “A better cup will benefit the entire industry and we invite others to join us as we move these efforts forward.”

Kate Daly, executive director of the center for the circular economy at Closed Loop Partners, said the firm had received more than 1,000 inquiries from companies and individuals interested in participating in the challenge.

“In our experience investing in circular economy innovation, we find the most successful path to scaling a systems-changing solution is to bring together key players along the entire value chain in a pre-competitive collaboration. This is the type of partnership we need to foster innovative solutions without sacrificing profit. We are working with consortium members to build a robust shared set of technical, performance, and environmental criteria that we will announce later this summer.”