The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:13 AM EST

SPECIAL MENTION: Could the future of sustainable manufacturing and shipping be found in an empty cup? Smart Cups can be printed with the ingredients for almost any water-based product you can find on a grocery store shelf, from detergent to BBQ sauce. Consumers buy the containers, add water at home, and presto: a full container of their desired item. A truck that could ordinarily carry 96,000 cans of soda could carry 1.2 million Smart Cups printed with the same product—potentially cutting carbon emissions 40-fold. —Simmone Shah

Buy Now: Smart Cups

Correction Nov. 10

The original version of this story misstated how the product is made. It is made using the company’s own printing technology, not 3D printing.

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