Help - Reusable / Recyclable Disposable Coffee Cups


New member
Jun 30, 2017
Somerset, UK
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Hi guys. New to the forum.

I need your help!

I've entered into an OpenIDEO challenge to look at how to reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into the environment. Putting my thinking cap on, I came up with a design that feels like it meets the needs of coffee culture. But... to be sure... I want coffee aficionados like yourselves to take a look and tell me what you think. What you like and what you don't like. Suggestions and comments. All welcome.

In the UK we go through about 2.5billion disposable coffee cups per year, about 10,000 every 2 minutes. Less than 5% of these are recycled. Mainly because they are made up of mixed materials - coated paper, plastic lid, cardboard sleeve. The main offender is the lid. It's too small to be easily recycled. Of course there are many solutions - especially the cup-for-life phenomenon. Yet, as you will find in my submission, this is not entirely the answer - but more of a desired end goal that requires people to really change their habits. There are cardboard only solutions, yet have a problem with being suitable for really hot drinks. And unfortunately, biodegradable plastics aren't designed to withstand high temperatures such as coffee. (Although science is making progress).

The solution I've proposed as part of the challenge is this one: Integrate the cup, sleeve and lid into one unit. The lid is hinged to the body of the cup, and the sleeve is in fact fins that radiate around the cup. I've nicknamed this project 'Cuppuccino'. My rationale for going this route is to encourage reusability and recycling. A customer can reuse the cup multiple times, but can also throw it away. A cup for the day, or the week - but not necessarily for life. By making it out of plastic doesn't defeat the object of removing plastics from the environment - far from it. With the size of the container and being made all from one single type of plastic, the cup can be easily disposed of in a plastic recycling bin. Because of its size, it can easily be recycled. Also, by being plastic, it is relatively cheap to manufacture, with the aim for this cup to cost no more than a cup, lid and sleeve would cost today.

So what do you think? My big questions are:

  1. Would customers adopt an all plastic, all in one reusable/recyclable coffee cup?
  2. Would coffee shop owners switch to using such a cup?
  3. Would coffee owners recognise such a cup as reusable and offer incentives much like the cup-for-life schemes of today?
  4. What about the design do you like?
  5. What about the design DON'T you like?
  6. How much do you currently pay for coffee cups, lids and sleeves for which this product would need to compete?
  7. Are you aware of any other products like this already on the market?
  8. Do you have any suggestions, comments, questions or concerns?

You can, if you like (and I hope you do) read about it at https : // / challenge / circular-design / ideas / cuppuccino-temporary-reusable-coffee-cup-with-integrated-lid-and-sleeve-idea-stage - then look for 'Cuppuccino'
Pics on the the OpenIDEO website too.

If you do go through to the site - I'd appreciate you tapping on the 'Applaud' heart and/or leaving a comment. This will help with the competition process of the challenge.

Many thanks my caffeinated friends,