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Containers Rental Machine

Imagine a world in which people rent coffee/tea/juice pots, cups or mugs from a machine.

Photo of dientsmaker
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Many of us buy our takeaway coffee to the office to wake us up in the morning or to energize ourselves in the afternoon. Sometimes we buy it with our own to go coffee cups but sometimes we just use disposable cups for our convenience. The interesting thing is that most of us have our own mugs in the office so if there is a container to transport liquids, our reliance on disposable cups may reduce.


To make it real, we need to take advantage of RFID technology and form an organisation to control the system. The RFID track tag with stored information would be embedded in the tracked coffee/tea /juice pot, cups or mugs. The RFID reader would be in the machines and the equipment of the coffee shops. To rent, the user must register an account and make deposits. A QR code would be sent to the user for identification. Just pass the QR code over the scanner area to rent or return a container. The users would be charged a standardized fee which would be deducted from the account automatically. Value could be added to the account at any time and users would be able to know the locations, updates and usage status from a website or an app.


Containers are with a lid, but for cost consideration, only the container itself would be attached a track tag. So to make sure that each item is being returned completely and no breakage, a weight sensor would be inside the machine. If the user forgets to return the lid back, the expense of the lid would be deducted from the user's deposits. But if the user return the lid few days later, the value of the lid would be added to the user's deposits automatically. Users are encouraged to wash the container after usage although each item would be in the process of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization for health care when the user return back. To save money, the thermal or electrical energy would be converted from solar power.


A container could be rented out from machine A and retruned back to machine B. Each record would be sent to the management team. If a machine have no container to rent, they have to inform the related unit to relocate containers. Since the RFID reader would also be placed in the equipment of the coffee shops, the sales revenues from the rental containers could be tracked as well. If the rental income is not enough to pay the operational expenses. The management team would allocate the expenses to shops by the percentage of their sales revenues monthly.


With the system, people could reduce the usage of disposable cups and shops could do social responsibility as well.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

CASE 3 Take-away coffee lids

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The rental machines could be set up at train stations, around coffee shops, commercial buildings, shopping mall, or parks. In the case of the young professional in Argentina, before Lucas buys his to go breakfast, he would just need to go to the rental machine and get containers that he wants. After finishing, he could return containers back when he gets off the train. In addition, friends or a family could also rent a juice pot and cups, go to the juice bar, and enjoy picnics in the park.

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 from where your Idea emerged

RFID technology has been available for a long time, for example, at various stages of a supply chain, inventory management in a warehouse, access control for buildings, tracking passenger baggage in the airline industry, animal tracking.

Tell us about your work experience

I am specialized in financial reporting area. I think everyone has responsibility to protect our environment.

7 comments

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Spam
Photo of Janne Asikainen
Team

Hi dientsmaker,
Do you see if this could be combined with drink/food vending machines to make it even easier for the consumer?

Spam
Photo of dientsmaker
Team

Hello Kate,

Agreed that it would be more convenient for users if the reusable containers are placed in shops. To improve the efficiency of the processes, the merchants could have access to the system by registering as a business. They could get containers from the nearest machine and provide them to customers who choose to use the system. Users could know if there are any containers available in shops from the website/app. The status of the container would be displayed as 'rented out' in the system once the user passes their QR code/ barcode over the scanner. As the value has been added to the account, consumers could also choose to pay the takeaway food with their prepaid account. Revenue reconciliation with each party would be performed automatically daily or weekly. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, collaboration with financial institutions would increase the scale of the system and bring more convenience to users as well.

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on being today's Featured Contribution!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi dientsmaker,

It is great to see you in the challenge.

Where does this idea fit into the current system? Are there economic, societal, or infrastructural shifts need to occur for your idea to be implemented at scale e.g. agreement among major coffee shop franchises?

What would be needed to incentivise people to adopt this over the current system?

I look forward to reading your answers.

Also, are you on LinkedIn? There is a Circular Design Guide Group - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8585051? This group is about design & the circular economy. It's run jointly by IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi @dienstmaker! Could your idea be incorporated into these two ideas - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/circular-design/ideas/join-the-eco-to-go-movement and https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/circular-design/ideas/a-reusable-returnable-to-go-cups-system-1

Spam
Photo of dientsmaker
Team

Hello Christel,

Thank you for your questions.

As the characteristics and nature of liquids are different, a PH sensor could be applied to tell a clean pot and a pot to be washed. All of pots would be washed after returning back. If a clean pot is returned, the PH value would be align with a setup value. But if a pot returns back without washing, the PH value would be different with the setup value. To save water, only water for washing clean pots would be preserved for the next wash. In addition to PH sensor, a color sensor may also be applied to know if the pot is clean or not. Regarding the issue of how the pot be returned if the machine is full, a warning mechanism could be built for the situation. If a machine reaches 80% to 90% full, the management team would be informed by the warning system. The further action for relocating containers could be executed before the machine's full.

Spam
Photo of Christel Tardif
Team

Nice idea dientsmaker 
How do you manage the washing of the rented pots? How do you separate returned pots (not necessaraly washed) and clean, ready for rent pots? Imagine I want to return my pot to machine B but it appears it's full, how do you manage this?