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GoSili Cups & Straws: Replacing temporary, disposable plastics with safe, long-lasting silicone.

By using silicone, we strive to replace plastic items that have dominated the consumable marketplace.

Photo of Stacey Feeley

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GoSili to-go cups and straws are the alternative to excessive plastics cups and straws constantly being produced and thrown out. Before the "take-and-toss" culture came to be, tableware items were made from natural and durable materials such as glass, ceramic and steel. These items are made to endure endless use, multiple washes and extreme temperatures. In the last 50+ years the trend has switched towards using plastics which contain toxic chemicals and break down quickly and easily. They are not made to last and therefore must be thrown out relatively quick. Waste from disposables is exponentially higher as our culture has embraced on-the-go conveniences. So why silicone? Our mission is to provide a safe, durable alternative to plastic. Silicone is non-toxic, dishwasher and microwave safe and can withstand the extreme temperatures that we put these items through. It has all the qualities of superior performance and durability. Food and beverages should be consumed out of materials that are durable, natural and safe. They should not have to be disposed of after a few uses or just one! GoSili focuses on creating silicone products that have high-end design at affordable prices competing directly with plastic. We are dedicated to building our business around a social movement. By educating and leading people away from plastic disposables, we will also provide them with a sustainable, silicone alternative.  


Idea Title

Make it last with safe, sustainable silicone!

Company / Organization Name

GoSili, Inc was co-founded by Giuliana Schwab and Stacey Feeley.

Website

www.gosili.com / www.silikids.com

Where are you / your team located?

Our team is located in Traverse City, Michigan.

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

The GoSili Cup intends to slow down and ultimately change the "take and toss" culture. It is an answer to the billions of plastic cups, straws, coffee cups and lids being thrown out every year. By replacing our everyday plastics in the kitchen or on-the-go with products that last, we can reduce the excessive levels of waste to more manageable and ultimately sustainable levels. While also promoting better health and creating a cultural awareness in how we use and dispose of these items.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

The GoSili mission applies to Use Case 3. The GoSili cup is silicone with a stainless steel ring embedded in the rim of the cup so it holds its shape. It is dishwasher & microwave safe (even with the stainless steel ring). The rigid rim of the cup allows us to incorporate a variety of tops for the cup, such as the silicone coffee lid or a straw lid with a reusable silicone straw. All items are interchangeable & can be reused over and over again. We even have a recycling program for silicone.

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

We are launching the GoSili Coffee Cups, Straw Cups and Reusable Straws in the US with the goal to expand globally within the disposables and housewares market space.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

We will work with various retailers & distributors to introduce GoSili into the marketplace. In the smaller children's market we have seen success with our reusable silicone straws & cups and believe the GoSili Coffee Cups & GoSili straw cups will do well very well. Our biggest obstacle is educating the consumer about silicone. Using great design to catch the the customer's attention, we explain silicone's benefits and plan to expand our product offerings in silicone.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Operating Concept / Startup: You have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and are currently operating this concept/idea as a business.

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

The opportunity to be involved with the Accelerator Program & additional funding would provide a resource we need to continue our mission of educating consumers & creating change in the way we use on-the-go products. By bridging the gap between beautiful design & affordability, more can participate in a cultural shift away from plastic. It is possible! We now need more than ever a connected community to help with our mission.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

It started 10 years ago when we both had our first children. We were horrified to learn about the toxic chemicals found in plastic feeding products and all the waste it created. We knew there had to be a better way, so we set out to create a kids line of silicone tableware products called Silikids. It has since been our mission to expand into larger markets, introduce alternative products in silicone and replace the toxic and excessive plastics being used for on-the-go and table wares.

Tell us about your work experience

Our past work experience includes editorial art direction and music licensing. For the last 10 years we have been dedicated to building our business and making superior products that support change.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

C-Corp

Please describe, in detail, your business model and how you intend to test and iterate this model.

We sell to markets serving consumers using on-the-go drinkware. The value prop. is silicone drinkware as an alternative to excessive plastics that break down, metal that transmits metallic tastes & isn't dishwasher safe & glass that can break. GoSili is sold into various channels; small stores, grocery, online, int'l distributors, chain stores & gosili.com. We are able to compete directly with other plastics on the market by bridging the gap between great design & affordability.

Please explain how your innovation will work within, potentially improve, and provide benefit to the plastics system.

Using silicone as an alternative to plastic allows for the product to last longer, negating the need to consistently replace disposable & non-disposible plastics. We have put in place a recyclying program allowing consumers to return their silicone tableware or drinkware to us directly. We then send the items to a facility which breaks them down into siloxanes where they are depolymerized to make silicone oil used as lubricant for industrial machineries, water repellants, sealants & more.

Please describe, in depth, how your solution will reduce the overall environmental footprint of packaging.

While our idea is not a replacement for plastic packaging formats, it is meant to offer a means to replace disposable plastic and paper cups as well as plastic straws. We also use minimal retail packaging which is made of recyclable cardboard.

Please outline how your design, material, and delivery choices will influence price, and how you intend to address the price increase that may result from this solution.

Our goal is to compete directly with plastics. To do so, we understand that cost needs to be at the forefront of our competitive items. By bridging the gap between great design and affordability we can capture those sales. Silicone is more expensive than plastic, however our mission is to create a change, so we do not price items at high end prices only a few can buy, but at prices the average person can afford in an effort to push out plastics & change the way consumers use drinkware.

Please explain how your solution will impact user behavior, and what design considerations you've included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions with your Idea. 

We have found that educating the consumer on the benefits of silicone vs. plastic takes serious efforts But, by capturing their willingness to purchase silicone over plastic through modern, great design first backed by a competitive price point, we can then educate secondary while simultaneously creating a trend and movement to move away from plastics.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

We would like to use funds as a means for marketing needed to help grow within the various sales channels we are currently in and planing to move in to. Funding would also allow more room for R&D needed to continue to offer more alternatives.
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GoSili Straw Cup

10 comments

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Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Stacey Feeley !

We have received your Refinement Phase Submission Questions! Just a friendly reminder that the Phase closes tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. PT. so please update your contribution on the platform before the deadline.

Thank you for all your work this Refinement Phase and for being member of the OpenIDEO Community!

Photo of Stacey Feeley
Team

Hi Lauren,
Thank you so much for commenting. We didn't realize we could add to the contribution! Just uploaded.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing more!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Stacey!

There are 7 days left in the refinement phase.

If there is key information in the comments on your idea submission, I recommend that you move them to the main body of your idea submission before the cut-off time.

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of sili kid
Team

Thanks Kate. I'll be reaching out by email!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Stacey!

Welcome to refinement phase!

There have been many reusable cups on the market for a while now. What is unique about GoSili that sets it ahead of the pack?

There is are two ideas from our previous challenges that might interest you.

Cobuy - Group buying software that helps people buy good food at good prices, together. - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/top-ideas/cobuy-group-buying-software-that-helps-people-buy-good-food-at-good-prices-together - really highlights their USP.

UnBroke - UnBroke creates a new marketplace by negotiating down tuition costs and helping the majority of colleges fill seats - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/impact/unbroke - is an extremely developed submission. However, it has a really well articulated business model that might be a source of inspiration.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by tagging me here (@ followed by my name) or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of sili kid
Team

Hi Kate,
I apologize for the delayed response. I did not see this comment!
There are indeed reusable cups on the market, however our GoSili cups last longer than other reusable cups, are easier to clean and maintain due to its silicone properties and its durability. It is the only to-go cup that is both dishwasher and microwave safe and does not use any plastic whatsoever. Unlike other silicone cups that can not hold their shape, the GoSili cup is the only silicone cup that holds its form making it more practical and easier to use. With its patent pending technology the rigid rim of the GoSili cup keeps its shape and can incorporate various silicone to-go tops on the cup without collapsing on itself, making it truly unique.

I am looking forward to diving into the 2 links you sent. They both sound very interesting.

Photo of Abby Schultz
Team

Hey I love this!!! Such a great video too explaining the concept and product. I'm curious what you all do at Gosili with the cups if they are returned to you? I think these cups would be pair so nicely with my team's idea for implementing a system for reusable to-go coffee mugs on college campuses since your cups are so durable and never break down. I work for PLAN, a non-profit which supports student-led zero waste initiatives on college campuses. Feel free to hit us up at info@postlandfill.org if you're interested in a collaboration!

Photo of Stacey Feeley
Team

Hi Abby. Thanks so much for reaching out! We'd love to collaborate with your team. When the cups are returned we cut out the stainless and add our our recycle bin. Once this reaches a certain volume we then send to a recycling facility that breaks the items down into siloxanes where they are depolymerized to make silicone oil used as lubricant for industrial machineries, water repellants, sealants and so forth. I'll reach out via email!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Stacey,

Excited to see you joining this challenge. We noticed your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We would love to have it included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We are looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.

Photo of Stacey Feeley
Team

Hi there! We just published. We wanted to make sure it was all set to go before hitting the go button. We are excited to be a part of the challenge.
Best,
Stacey