Company with factory in Gilbert looks to reinventing disposable cups

GILBERT, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A company that recently opened up a factory in Gilbert is one of the winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge.

Many people drink out of disposable cups, but the company, called Footprint, is choosing to reinvent those disposable cups.

Founded five years ago, Footprint is a fairly new company, but it already has over 800 employees, and they say their paper fiber cups are not only better for the environment, but for people's health as well.

Jeff Bassett, Footprint's Senior Vice President of Marketing, talked about his reaction after finding out his company was one of 12 winners for the cup challenge, which awarded companies with the best quality fiber cups.

"It's very exciting," said Bassett. "It was a great recognition of what we've done previously in the frozen seafood space and in the produce space."

Bassett says Footprint started out making eco-friendly bowls for frozen foods and produce.

"Microwave safe, oven safe, water resistant, oil resistant and fully recyclable and compostable," said Bassett.

The company later expanded into fiber cups. As for the reasons why, Bassett says the paper cups people drink out of at most coffee shops and cafes aren't actually recyclable, as many people are led to believe.

"The inside of this cup is going to be fully lined in plastic, and the bottom piece as well," said Bassett. "So the outside is paper, inside is plastic, and that's what makes it so difficult to recycle."

Footprint was founded by former Intel engineers, and company leaders saying they hope to create even more products that are not only eco-friendly, but also don't involve harmful chemicals like BPA.

"That really is what fuels my personal passion," said Bassett. "Subject is to illuminate those microplastics that are invading our bodies, our water, or food. There's a lot of research out there that shows the microplastics are just really pervasive, and a contaminant in our environment."

Around 480 companies from around the world competed in the NextGen Cup Challenge. The 12 winners, including Footprint, were rewarded a portion of up to $1 million in funding and will get an opportunity to further develop and improve their products for the market.