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Straw what?! Certified

This idea combines a certificate, the power of the web and data science to change drinking behaviour and forget about straws.

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Written by

What if bars, restaurants, cafés and their guests were proud to not use straws in their ordered and served drinks, cocktails and beverages?

Of course, it might be just one or two straws per person per visit. But numbers add up quickly, especially on a global scale. 

The idea is a combination of ideas already out there:

  1. create a digital certificate (inspiration: bcorporation)
  2. measure your impact - straw by straw (inspiration:
  3. display nicley on a website and let participants view and share their impact (inspiration: The Million Dollar Homepage)

Both, restaurations companies and guests can pride themselves to consume responsibly. The logo (certificate) can be used by participating restaurations (digital and on merchandise) and needs to be re-claimed every year. Saved straws appear as digital representations on the website where visitors can look for sustainable restaurants and bars and where owners can monitor and share their impact. The counting is done by approximation or any other way that is feasible to estimate the saved straws.

Idea Title

straw what?!

Company / Organization Name

Not applicable


As mentioned below I have a day job. This is the site of my side project:

Where are you / your team located?

Vienna, Austria, Europe

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

It prevents small format plastic by making it uncool to consume it with drinks (which very often come with straws; very often for decoration only).

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

It applies to Case 3: straws and coffee lids.

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

I think that this idea can have global reach.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Obstacles: this is a marketing thing that needs lot of energy and time invested to reach a reasonable number of businesses (even on a local level).

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

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

The goal is to contribute to the challenge with this idea and inspire others. For me success means that a group of dedicated, motivated and committed people with time (!) takes this idea further.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

This is an individual idea very much inspired by research contributions from the platform and other websites in different areas.

Tell us about your work experience

I am a program manager for entrepreneurship at the Vienna business university, a learning designer and I run my side project (Creativity Gym).

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

I have no company nor a legal entity.


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I have watched and examined a huge amount of your posts, unprecedented, your articles are cool and strong, thank you for sharing.

Photo of Petter john

You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs on the web. I most certainly will highly recommend this blog!

Photo of Petter john

It’s hard to find well-informed people about this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks.

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Stephan Kardos 

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 Stephan Kardos

Hello OpenIDEO Community.

I invite everybody to comment, feedback and even contribute to this idea.
1) Right now there is an update on the idea via a lean canvas: Any feedback on that?
2) Any ideas on customer journeys and or user flows (website) are very welcome
3) Any graphic designers out there? How could the digital / physical certificate look like?
4) Anybody with experience in building and communicating movements? What are your thoughts?
5) Who has a bar or restaurant in this community (or knows someone)? How do you feel about the idea of banning straws from your business?
6) Any thoughts on where most straws could be saved? I think of bars (cocktails, longdrinks). Where else can we save considerable amounts? Schools? Coffee shops?

Please use the comment section or write me if you'd like to contribute or join for refinement (

Photo of Kate Rushton

Christel Tardif - do you have any thoughts on Stephan's questions?

Photo of Kate Rushton

I am tagging a few bar/restaurant owners here who might have some feedback to share @DeletedUser Christen Helfrich @DeletedUser Marta Fieweger @DeletedUser 

Photo of Darren Yeo

In your canvas, I'm not sure if 1 year renewal will prompt stickiness. It may turn into another decal on the wall. When I think of TripAdvisor, they have a huge following because of a large user base, hence the sticker is like a honor or badge to a wide audience having to look at TripAdvisor for advice. Perhaps the renewal of the pass can be done more frequently, and a more accurate results of saved straws.Think the assumption to also test is if the lack of perceived service quality compensates a green data movement

Context: universities, festivals, clusters of restaurants

Think your idea is pretty cool, btw!

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Thx Darren Yeo for your comments.
Exactly, the idea is that we award certain businesses with a certificate that represents participation in a plastic free movement and serves as a badge which can be also displayed digitally (like bcorporation)! Issuing the badge for a year or longer or shorter is certainly an important question. It shouldn't be easy to get unless you commit to banning straws in your bar/restaurant but of course you should be able to celebrate your success for some time.

Of course: it's important to test how important straws really are fro (perceived) quality. My feeling is that we use because we get it but this feeling needs some back up / testing.

Do you have a restaurant, café, bar or any other business of that sort?

Photo of Christel Tardif

Sorry Kate Rushton I was vacationing ;)
I love the idea Stephan Kardos I read your business canvas and I have doubts on the Business Model, the way you make businesses to pay for the service. Especially early adopters, they will have to put some efforts in "selling" the idea... so paying for the service on top of this sounds awkward.
What other revenues stream could you imagine? Extra services is a good idea, but for now you are not a renowned company and "story, highlight on site" might not have a great impact before some months, years...
How about partnership with renowned companies that will promote engaged businesses?

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Thx Christel Tardif for your thoughts and feedback. What exactly do you mean by early adopters "selling" the idea? Selling to customers that the drink comes without straw or do you refer to something else.
As this is a multi sided model it is indeed very challenging to build value on both sides through high numbers of bars and site-visitors / customers. With such models the first months or even years are critical. So far I haven't come up with alternatives. How exactly would your partnership solution work? Thank you for any further input and thoughts that you might have in the upcoming days. Stephan

Photo of Christel Tardif

Yes, I mean selling to customers...
About the partnership idea: could be something like make renowned companies support the program, either directly with fundings or indirectly by offering "publicity" for businesses that enter the program (café, restaurants, etc) on their website or other... thus, either reducing the cost for businesses or adding value for them as their business will be promoted largely

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Stephan!

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 Stephan Kardos

Thx for the Reminder Kate Rushton . Just completed the typeform and hopefully I find some time to create a journey map and reflect on some of Anne-Laure Fayard 's brilliant questions.

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Hi Kate Rushton . How can I update this contribution? merly in the comment section? Also I wanted to add virtual team members which seems to be disabled. It says "Sorry, the contribution couldn't be modified as it is now locked." I think that should be possible, even and especially in the refinement phase. Thanks for feedback, Stephan

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Stephen!

Have you tried accessing your idea via this link - You might be accessing it in the ideas phase and not the refinement phase.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Stephen!

It is nice to see you in the challenge. Is there someone in the Vienna Chapter that would like to take this project on and develop it?

It would be good to know more about the interplay between restaurants, retailers, and developers in this solution.

How could this scale?

How would you address the challenge that this problem asks people to ‘opt-out’ of using a straw instead of ‘opting-in’ to have a straw?

How would you persuade restaurants to come ‘on board’ with this solution?

There are two ideas from previous challenges that might inspire someone who wants to take this idea further:

"Food Saving Restaurant" Network, Platform & Certificate - - a network, a platform and a certificate for restaurants that reduce food waste has articulated the benefits to all the stakeholders involved in the certification scheme.

Water Conservation Certification (WCC) to reduce food waste - - has a clear work flow and business model

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 -

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 Stephan Kardos

Hello Kate Rushton 

Thanks for your message and comments. I make sure to check the links and reflect on your questions.

As by now, there is now Chapter-Activity around that idea. I'll dedicate some time, however, to refine the idea till the next deadline. Hopefully, along the way, this idea attract other virtual team members.

Check out the lean canvas with which I started to refine the idea. Any thoughts on that?

Just a quick comment on the opt-in / opt-out question. This campaign / certificate doesn't really come with a choice. It's rather a straw-ban for participating businesses. If anything, it would be a opt-in since most people wouldn't do it, I guess. There is a famous study on opt-in/opt-out that researches the default regulation of after death organ transplantation which is multiple times higher if you need to opt out the default being that you donate.

Anyhow, thanks for further comments and feedback during the refinement phase and beyond.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi Stephan Kardos nice seeing you on this challenge (I haven't been very active so far). I like your idea because it starts with something small but that can lead not only to reducing the number of straws, but most importantly changing behaviors. I would recommend developing a user journey map (I found this template developed by Acumen very useful It will help you think of the overall journey. I'm also wondering if you could not develop a scenario to help community members understand better the experience. Thinking of the experience, I wondered how will people know about this option? How easy it will be for them to check / access the website? And also where will they show their certificate? (when you pilot, I'm curious to know how important would be the certificate for people? do they really care about the certificate?). Good luck! Looking forward to seeing the idea evolve. (P.S: I like your side project :-) ).

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Hi Anne-Laure Fayard thank you for your comment and all the great tips you pointed out (and sorry for the late reply).

Definitely this idea would benefit from a user journey map for both parties: customers (business owners, cafés, restaurants, bars) and beneficiaries (guests). I am happy about every support. If you (and or your Chapter) want to join I'd be more than happy. I'll add you to this virtual team for starters.
Also, I started to add to this idea with a lean canvas that you find here. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this. This is the read only link
I gladly provide you with an editor link, too. Thanks for any further feedback and comments over the next week in the refinement phase.

Happy to hear you like my side project :)