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Gaami Cup - Reimagining the takeaway coffee cup

By combining the traditional takeaway lid and cup, the Gaami Cup eliminates plastic waste, prevents spillage and reduces production costs.

Photo of Emma Gilpin
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The Gaami cup is the result of intensive life cycle mapping of the takeaway coffee cup and lid, from manufacture to system stakeholders. 

Prototyping and user testing led to a design that eliminates harmful plastics from takeaway coffee packaging as well as enhancing the experience of drinking and transporting coffee. 

Company / Organization Name

Thunk Creative Studio

Where are you / your team located?

Cape Town, South Africa.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

The takeaway coffee cup+lid unit is the second largest product pollutant in the world, Starbucks alone used 1.9 billion cups in the year 2000. Although the lid is recyclable, it more often ends up polluting the environment. The 'paper' on the other hand is very difficult to recycle due to the thin layer of Polyethylene that when in water separates from the paper, damaging aquatic wildlife. The Gaami Cup eliminates all plastic elements by using only one material: compostable PLA coated paper.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

The Gaami design perfectly fulfills the needs of the user/small business in Case 3. Not only does the cup design eliminate all harmful plastics, it is able to be manufactured at a lower price than the existing packaging. The design also aims to enhance the user experience of coffee drinking, making it more enjoyable as well as spill/leak proof.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

As our design studio is based in Cape Town, all research and designing was done locally. The design though solves a worldwide problem in a much larger industry, so the product would ideally be implementable in any coffee drinking society.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The next phase in the process involves obtaining capital investment and business mentorship for the purpose of manufacturing the product using local or international manufacturers. Supply chains will be formed using existing distributors or by dealing directly with coffee shops. The largest obstacle currently is manufacture, which will be overcome easily with funding and guidance. The Gaami cup is designed to effortlessly replace the existing cup throughout its journey from supplier to user.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

We are fortunate to be at a stage where we have spent a full year researching, testing and investigating ways of manufacture for the product. Mentorship and funding would enable us to overcome a large barrier in achieving our ultimate goal of producing a product that not only aims to make the experience of drinking coffee better but could eliminate one of the world's largest single use waste products. Success would be to first start producing the cup then seeing it being used in multiple shops.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

All three members of the team met at university whilst completing a Btech in Industrial Design. The product started as a final year assignment, developing into a mutual passion project. The idea stemmed from a shared interest in designing for human enjoyment and the future of environmentally sustainable product design.

Tell us about your work experience

All three members of the creative team graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology last year (2016) with Btechs in Industrial Design and are currently all working in various areas of design


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Emma Gilpin 

As Refinement Phase quickly comes to a close in 8 hours, I want to remind you that the following must be submitted by tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

1. Submit the Refinement Questions Form online that was sent again via email yesterday evening--we have not yet received this from you. These questions are mandatory for Top Ideas consideration, so this should be your first priority in the final stretch.

2. A secondary priority, which is optional, is to update your Refinement Phase post. I see you've already updated your concept on the platform.

Looking forward to reviewing and celebrating the amazing work you've achieved this Refinement Phase!

Photo of Emma Gilpin

Hi Lauren

I Submitted the Refinement Questions Form last night, I hope it went through. What do you mean by Refinement Phase Post?


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