Search Continues for the Greenest Coffee Cup

Search Continues for the Greenest Coffee Cup

April 14, 2019

Most current disposable coffee cups are not “green.”  Many contain liners that will not easily recycle or decompose.  Considering that over 250 billion are used each year by restaurants and cafés, this presents a serious environmental problem.  In 2018, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and several other organizations got together for the NextGen Cup Challenge (see our previous post about the contest).

The objective: to find environmentally friendly coffee cups.

The approach: to either make the disposable coffee cup easier to recycle by developing better liners, use new materials, or to develop a reusable cup model.

Four hundred eighty teams attempted the contest.  Twelve winners were selected.  They will be receiving a portion of up to one million dollars in funding to further develop their ideas. See this OpenIDEO post for summaries of the winning products.

This post is based on the Nation’s Restaurant News article, Big Chains Offer $1M For Greener Cup: Winning Solution Gets Funding and Business Acceleration support, by Lisa Jennings, March 22, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Slava_kovtun

Discussion Questions:

1. Why use a competition to find the new approach?

Guidance: This is a big problem.  To find a Continue reading

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Avocado Shortage Looming?

Avocado Shortage Looming?

April 8, 2019

President Trump is suggesting that the U.S.-Mexican border be closed unless Mexico assists with reducing the number of illegal immigrants reaching the border.

Beyond the humanitarian impacts, closing a border can have many impacts on supply chains. Hitting the news is the looming avocado shortage that would take place if the border is closed. Within three weeks, avocados would not be available, or in very limited supply, in the United States.

This is far from the first time an avocado shortage has made headlines. In 2014, with Chile and California facing drought, and gangs blocking production and delivery of avocados in Mexico,  news spread of a potential avocado shortage.   In 2016, a growers’ strike in Mexico led to a shortage. And in November 2018, a dispute between growers and packers threatened another shortage.

Avocados represents only one of the products that would be impacted.  Other fruits, car parts which flow in both directions, and refined gas shipped to Mexico, would also be affected.


Video Spotlight: Trump reiterates threat to close U.S.-Mexican border


This post is based on the Newsbusters.org article, Holy Guacamole! MSNBC Fears Avocado Crisis if Trump Closes Border, by Kyle Drennen, April 1 Continue reading

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Cashless Restaurants Banned Again

Cashless Restaurants Banned Again

April 8, 2019

For many customers, the convenience of going cashless is obvious.  For businesses, it can save time and money in completing the transactions.  Taking cash slows down the payment process.  Many organizations are trying total cashless operations, including Amazon Go, Starbucks, and Shake Shack.

However, New Jersey, following the lead of the city of Philadelphia and the state of Massachusetts, is banning cashless restaurants.  Brick-and-mortar restaurants must accept cash as payment under the new law.


Video Spotlight: The power of going cashless means real pain for some


This post is based on the Restaurant Business Online article, N.J. Becomes 2nd State to Ban Cashless Restaurants, by Peter Romeo, March 19, 2019; and the YouTube video, The power of going cashless means real pain for some, by NBC News, December 4, 2017. Image source: Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. Why force businesses to take cash?

Guidance: Cashless business can be seen as discriminatory.  To pay without cash requires a credit or debit card and/or technology such as a smart phone.  This prevents many individuals in lower income levels from using cashless stores.  Many lower income neighborhoods are already suffering from a Continue reading

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