Team members: Priscilla Lam (SFU), Angelica Tso (UBC)

Every week, Vancouver throws out an average 2.6 million disposable cups. Emissions from landfills likewise account for 20% of Canada’s national methane emissions. On a macro level, we believe the disposable cup issue is a symptom of our throwaway culture that values personal convenience at the expense of negative socio-environmental externalities—caused by a fundamental disconnect between people and the natural ecosystem. One solution we believe is not being leveraged enough is encouraging consumers to bring their own cups when buying to-go drinks. 

Our project — BYO — will be a mobile app-based program that motivates individuals to bring their own cup through a variety of mechanisms such as rewards and impact tracking. On top of incentivizing bring-your-own-cup behavior, a portion of the usual cup discount will be allocated towards a tree planting initiative. By incorporating tree planting, we seek to extend our impact beyond cup waste — encouraging customers and cafes alike to think bigger while sparking conversations around the larger collective role of consumer practices. The project is a unique combination of cup waste reduction, rewards, tree planting, and community building.

Community partners:

Local cafe community in the City of Vancouver

2020-21 Grand Prize Award winner

Hey, students  – Doyou have an idea to ignite change?

Get funded to work together with your community to bring that idea to life? Amazing things happen when people come together (especially when you win up to $3,000* to work with)!

Register today – all you need is your name and a brief description of your idea.


* Award amounts subject to change