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Imagine you walk into your favorite coffee shop.

And just when you’re getting ready to order, you realize you forgot your reusable mug!

To your surprise, the barista says, “No problem. We’ve got you covered, just take this reusable mug on deposit ...and return it to any coffee shop in the city and get your deposit back.”

How cool is that? You get your coffee to go and nothing to throw-away.

We’re working to spark a whole new cultural idea...Throw-Away-Free Communities.


resources for community and business leaders,  and policy makers

In UPSTREAM's Throw-Away-Free Communities, we create and cultivate the business and policy conditions for reusable to-go businesses to start, thrive and scale.

Dining in? No problem. You eat on a REAL plate, with REAL silverware and drink out of a REAL glass. Taking out? No problem. You use a reusable take-out boxes and reusable to-go coffee cups.

During our first phase, we are partnering with vanguard communities in the Bay Area, New York City and Boston to develop models to spark innovative businesses and common sense policies throughout the country.

Investor Shark-Tank Events

The “Shark Tank” idea is based on a reality TV show in which 3-5 startups pitch their product or service to 4-5 investors during one show in order to see if one will commit to investing in their growth. 

We're bringing this exciting and innovative strategy to our Throw-Away-Free Communities to spark investment in existing reuse systems to help them scale.

Innovation Labs

Since there are not enough third party reuse systems, we want to help launch new ones, especially in our Throw-Away-Free Communities. 

We will invite startup investors and developers, local retail food service owner/operators, local government partners, and delivery service operators (Caviar, GrubHub, etc) to hack the challenges and details of developing and implementing these systems at scale.