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Juice Box Redesign

A redesign of the classic Juice Box carton with an integrated sipper, preventing small format plastic waste, such as straws and wrappers.

Photo of Rhiannon Hunt
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The original idea was to redesign the classic Juice Box so that a sipper is created from the carton itself. Following some initial research, it was decided that this would be achieved through the inclusion of a perforated (laser) tear off section (as used in other TetraPak packaging). It was also decided that the torn off piece would need to remain attached to the carton to avoid the creation of any small pieces of packaging that might not make it into the recycling system.  Various prototypes have since been trialled by hacking existing juice boxes and creating the tear-off section from different parts of the carton. The final design represents the most user-friendly design as determined through a process of trial and error. 

Idea Title

Juice Box Redesign

Where are you / your team located?

United Kingdom

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

By integrating the sipper into the Juice Box carton itself, there is no longer a need for straws, straw wrappers and bottle caps. As the sipper is created by lifting the side tabs of the carton and then tearing through a perforated tab (where the end of the tab stays attached to the carton), the Juice Box remains one single piece of packaging with no detachable parts. This design was inspired by the aluminium soft drink can, which employs a similar concept.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

This idea mainly applies to the use cases of Trevor and Benjamin who would like to avoid generating waste, such as bottle caps, on days out, as well as Nigel, who struggles to deal with the small format plastic packaging left in the park, which he is tasked with cleaning up.

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

Anywhere that drinks are packaged in containers that generate small format plastic waste (i.e. bottle caps, straws and straw wrappers). The simplicity of the design and ease of use makes the Juice Box suitable for both adults and children.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The cost of changing well established manufacturing practices can be significant due to re-tooling, so the Juice Box redesign stays as close to the original as possible, whilst eliminating the straw. As such, it should be easy to implement. It was also important to keep the carton box-shaped up to POS, as odd shapes don't stack & travel as well, adding cost and CO2. Juice Box is suitable for all scenarios where drink cartons are currently used as the user experience is similar (or even easier)

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

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

The next step for the Juice Box redesign concept is to carry out trials with food packaging manufacturers to test its viability in the real world and to identify and troubleshoot any issues that arise. Being a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program would help to bring the Juice Box redesign from concept / prototype to fruition in a real world context.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea came from using a Tetra Pak of tomatoes with a perforated tear-off section making pouring out the contents easier. I wondered why the same couldn't be done for juice cartons, avoiding the need for straws, which are a big problem when released into the environment (#stopsucking). Looking at the aluminium can, I wondered how the tear-off could be kept with the main carton for recycling.

Tell us about your work experience

Sustainable design (although not in food/packaging)

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

I would envisage working with leading food packaging companies to help them design packaging that fits within a circular economy business model. The first step would be to redesign the packaging to avoid common issues faced by recyclers. The next would be to work with recyclers to find secondary uses for the recycled materials. A complete, circular packaging solution could then be provided to drinks companies, integrating suppliers, manufacturers, packaging design, recycling and second life.

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

The Juice Box eliminates straws and straw wrappers and simplifies the recycling process for consumers and recyclers (nothing to remove). The carton could be made from renewable, recyclable materials. Tetra Rex cartons, for example, use renewable card and LDPE made using ethanol derived from sugar waste (which is chemically identical to traditional LDPE). Although laminated materials (i.e. cartons) can be difficult to recycle, suitable options exist and new ones are being developed all the time.

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

As the Juice Box is the same size and shape as traditional drink cartons, there is no change in the energy consumption of transporting drinks. The carton itself could be made from the same materials as are in use now, although bio-based LDPE would facilitate a reduction in the carbon footprint (due to the sequestration of Carbon during the growth of the sugar cane). Less plastic would be required as there is no need for a straw or wrapper, further reducing CO2. Recycling would also reduce CO2.

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.

The Juice Box design aims to cause as little disruption as possible to packaging manufacturers, whilst still delivering an environmentally-friendly and user-friendly solution. Costs will be incurred from changing the carton pattern to incorporate the sipper and in adding laser perforations for the tear-off section.

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. 

The Juice Box does not require significantly different behaviour from consumers and is fairly intuitive in its design (through the inclusion of a perforated tear off). Additional instructions could be printed on the box. The most difficult aspect is in getting consumers to recycle the cartons or to deposit them in take-back schemes. However, the fact that the Juice Box is made from one material (albeit a laminate), should simplify recycling for the consumer, as there's nothing to remove.

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

The funding would help to test the Juice Box concept with manufacturers and to address any practical issues with its implementation. Following a successful trial, it would be easy to roll the Juice Box design out on a large scale.

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Photo of Lauren Ito
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Hi Rhiannon Hunt !

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!

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