Launches Nation’s Largest Reusable Cup Contest with 10 Universities Participating in ‘Championship of Waste Reduction’

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Campaign awards $5,000 in grants to students for green behavior today announced the launch of the inaugural Kill the Cup University Challenge, a four-week nationwide contest that encourages students at 10 top universities across the country to reduce waste from disposable coffee cups.

The campaign, which will last from Oct. 6 – Oct. 31, combines gamification and social media to communicate a message of sustainability to students, faculty, and staff. is providing online training and resources to student ambassadors at each of the participating universities. Student teams at each university will track their progress and the popularity of their campaigns, and the teams that generate the greatest improvements in environmental awareness and impact will be eligible for $5,000 in grants to fund their own social impact projects.

“We at look forward to the impact we will be able to create with the Kill the Cup University Challenge,” said Drew Beal, co-founder and executive director of Social Ventures for Sustainability. “I couldn’t be more excited about our inaugural group of student teams. They represent a generation that will lead the charge for social responsibility.” uses prizes and contests to promote environmentally friendly behavior among consumers. During the university challenge, customers who bring reusable cups to campus coffee locations can upload photos of their cups to to become eligible to win gift cards and other prizes.

The rate of coffee cup reuse has been a point of interest for many national coffee retailers, most notably Starbucks. According to their website, the Seattle-based company has a 2015 goal of achieving a 5% reuse rate. Reported figures from 2012 and 2013 have been 1.5% and 1.8% respectively.

“If we are serious about changing behavior, we have to make it fun and engaging,” said Beal. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish with programs like the Kill the Cup Challenge. Our vision is for this to become the “March Madness” for environmental student groups.”

The ten participating universities in the Kill the Cup University Challenge are:

  •     Boston University
  •     New York University
  •     Villanova University
  •     Georgetown University
  •     Miami University (Ohio)
  •     University of Michigan
  •     Loyola University Chicago
  •     University of San Diego
  •     Washington State University
  •     California State University San Marcos

About is a project of Social Ventures for Sustainability, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with campuses and communities to encourage environmentally responsible consumer behavior.’s campaigns offer prizes and rewards to consumers for behaving in ways that will save them money, reduce waste, and improve sponsoring organizations’ bottom lines.

Its pilot program launched at the University of California, San Diego, in the spring of 2013. During the eight-week campaign, 351 students uploaded more than 1,000 photos to The percentage of coffees sold in reusable containers rose by 68.6%--from 11.6% to 19.6%. The campaign saved an estimated 1,300 cups, equivalent to 80 pounds of landfill waste, 350 pounds of CO2 emissions, and 350 gallons of water associated with the manufacturing process.

Contact: For more information about or other SVS projects, please contact Drew Beal by phone (848-992-0299) or email (drew(at)killthecup(dot)com).

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Drew Beal
Kill the Cup
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