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An easy to use, fun bottle that keeps the cap inside the circle, out of nature and just where you need it -with the bottle where it belongs.

Photo of Alan Somerfield
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Since you started reading this sentence 20,000 plastic bottles have been opened. Yes that's 20,000 every second and it's rising. Only a few thousand of these get recycled whilst the rest end up in landfill or are lost into the environment.

Just 2 months ago the North Sea Foundation carried out a study of 10,000 bottle tops picked up from Dutch beaches and concluded both that 80% of them had been left behind by consumers and that bottle caps were among the top 5 most harmful items found on beaches.

The Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (BEACH) has found that bottle caps are the second most littered item on beaches after cigarette butts.

According to the 2014 NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Marine Debris Program Report, plastics have been found in the dead bodies of fish, sharks, sea turtles, sea birds, seals and dolphins.

(You can find the links to these reports below)


KapKeep is not only better for the environment but also better for the consumer since it provides an easy place to put the cap. The strong visual presence of the KapKeep feature on the bottle will also allow the brands to strengthen their connections with their customers on the important issues of bottle and cap recycling.

We set three main design objectives. These were :-

  1. To get the benefits of tethered caps without inconveniencing the user.
  2. To provide a solution that offers immediate benefits to the consumer as well as the environmental advantage.
  3. To achieve the above whilst having minimal impact on manufacturing and cost.

Many sketches and mock ups later we had a story to test out.......


We have to accept that not everyone cares enough about the environment to make any extra effort for it. Below are 2 user journeys; one about someone who cares and one about someone who doesn't. KapKeep provides benefits in both situations.

First the person who cares - buys, drinks, connects and recycles

Now the person who doesn't care - buys, drinks and discards carelessly but the cap is later retrieved with bottle.


In the ideas phase we wanted to know what it might be like to use KapKeep and so took some early prototypes into the garden for lunch.


During the refinement phase the KapKeep detail design was iterated and tested with different sized hands to make sure it was easy to use.

It even works in winter with gloves!

(Full report in the attachments)


The resulting bottle was made using a 3D printed part glued between the neck and base of  standard Pepsi Max bottle. The idea was shared in Lincoln, UK and 2 users were willing to be filmed - here's the feedback.

Comments from others (who were not willing to be filmed) included;

"Yeah having somewhere to put the cap is cool but I might just throw the whole thing on the ground" 

"I think the best thing about this is that people will end up helping the environment even if they don't realise that they are doing it."

These are important points which acknowledge the fact that many people do not care enough about the environment to change their behaviour. KapKeep still helps even if the bottle ends up on the ground as the cap can get recovered with the bottle. Even if lost in nature the bottle-cap combination is too big for wildlife to swallow.


KapKeep’s branding strategy will focus on bottle manufacturers as its key audience, building a narrative in which they are the heroes both to their customers and to the environment by adopting KapKeep.

Customers will love the convenience and fun of popping their bottle caps onto the KapKeep. Currently, customers either have to hold the cap when drinking and screw it back on between sips, or put it down where it can get lost. KapKeep gives them an easy, safe place to stick their cap so they don’t have to hold it or keep track of it. And it offers fun possibilities for co-branding opportunities with entertainment properties that incorporate the Kap Keep into graphics on the packaging - like these superheroes.

or how about teaching some science by selling the bottle with a free Mentos placed in the KapKeep? !!! (Photo: Michael Murphy)

Manufacturers using KapKeep also help the environment by keeping the caps with the bottles and not strewn on the ground or in the water. Their customers care about this, and are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products (even the chairman of Nestle has affirmed this. (Watch video via link below)

With only a small marginal cost increase, brands that adopt the Kap Keep bottles can demonstrate their green credentials as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

Branding will include the words “KapKeep” embossed on the plastic bottle around the KapKeep holder, and a symbol/logo on the cap itself that lets the consumer know the bottle has the feature. This will cut across beverage brands, similar to “Tetra Pak” or “Intel Inside,” helping to make it a standard and recognised bottle feature in the marketplace.

The primary brand message to promote adoption by the manufacturers would be something along the lines of “KapKeep: Good for your customers. Good for the environment.” Or “A smarter bottle for both customers and the environment.” The consumer-facing brand messaging, once available in the market, would emphasise the idea of “Keeps your cap with the bottle where it belongs.”


To achieve maximum impact this idea has to be adopted by the brands so the case has to be compelling and the opportunity unmissable. That can be done by assembling the following assets:

  1. Larger scale user studies using a modified tool to produce a thousand bottles
  2. Exploration of the branding strategy i.e. co-branding opportunities, promotions etc
  3. Creation of a social media campaign centred on the KapKeep

For best results these should be done in conjunction with a brand so the primary objective of the 'next steps' is to create that relationship. 

KapKeep would just be the starting point of an enterprise that delivers innovative circular packaging solutions to industry. The KapKeep adventure will reveal further opportunities to design restorative, regenerative and circular products.



2017 North sea Foundation Bottle Cap Report

Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii Bottle Cap Project

2014 NOAA Report on Marine Debris Ingestion

Nestle Chairman says millennials willing to pay more for sustainable products


Many thanks to everyone who contributed, commented and asked questions to make me think about how to make this better. Special thanks to Robert Smith for all his expert prototyping help, Angel Landeros for manufacturing insight and Nick Cliffe for the recycling expertise and the Mentos idea!


Copyright Alan Somerfield 31/8/2017. All Rights Reserved. Patents Pending.

Idea Title

KapKeep 'Helps save caps'

Company / Organization Name

KapKeep Designs Limited

Website (Under construction)

Where are you / your team located?

I'm based in Lincoln in the UK and work with freelancers around the world.

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

Bottle caps become waste because they are too small to be recycled. Kap Keep means that bottle caps will get back to the recyclers in far larger numbers. Thus it will become more worthwhile to recycle them. The plastic they are made from is highly recyclable and commonly used in recycled forms.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

As well as the people pictured here in different countries. Anne can sell these in her coffee shop, Lucas the young professionals in Argentina should love it, Nigel in London won't be bothered by loose tops, Trevor and Benjamin's kids in Minneapolis should enjoy the themed bottles and Satwika in Pune will have less small stuff clogging the gutters.

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

KapKeep is a truly global solution.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The introduction of KapKeep will be done by the brands as they have the distribution and reach to achieve maximum impact. The main obstacles will be getting the brands to adopt the idea. To do that a compelling message will be needed, focusing not just on the environmental benefits but also on the opportunity to improve customer loyalty by exploiting convenience and fun opportunities offered by KapKeep.

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

The program would help with contacts at the big brand FMCGs to execute the key steps: 1) Develop brand messages and design concepts around the Kap Keep concept to deliver value to the big brands. 2) Work with industry bottle blow moulding and preform specialists to develop a prototype/production tool for the bottle that runs through existing machinery. 3) Sell the brand and technical concept to leading brands for introduction to the market.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

When I was about 12 I remember sitting at the breakfast table with my parents and watching my Dad take the foil top of the glass milk bottle (that the milkman had delivered!) and stick it on the side of the bottle using the milk fat that was on the underside of the lid (see picture). Then when breakfast was over the lid could be easily unstuck and put back on the bottle for the next morning.

Tell us about your work experience

I was first an engineering student who went to the RCA to do industrial design. I then ran my own design business that specialised in inventive consumer products and am best known for the Stoplock.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

I'm a sole trader but plan to incorporate.

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

For KapKeep to have maximum impact it needs to be a global solution adopted by the biggest brands. The entry costs to creating a new drinks business are prohibitive so the plan is a design business specialising in circular packaging. The first focus of this business will be delivering the KapKeep bottle solution – the business is called KapKeep Designs Limited (KDL).

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

The beauty of the KapKeep bottle is that it has no extra parts, no new materials and fits right into existing recycling systems. By keeping the cap with the bottle, we ensure that the cap makes it back to the recyclers instead of getting eaten by marine animals. For circular solutions to work they must help every part of the value chain. It only takes one part of the chain to have a problem for the whole circle to stop moving. KapKeep helps saves caps and no one should have a problem with that.

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

As explained in 2 above the KapKeep bottle uses existing materials in the same quantities as a conventional bottle. It reduces the environmental footprint of the bottle by retaining more of it within the value chain by increasing the number of caps that make it back to the recycling depot. An important objective was not to change the overall dimensions of the bottle (height and diameter) so there was no detrimental effect on the packing volumes which would increase both transport fuel costs

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 cap is unchanged and will show zero cost increase. The bottle may increase by a couple of points either due to extra material needed to form the capture detail or the bottle blowing machines running a little slower. However, the introduction of the design is virtually free when new bottle tools are made. Any cost increase can be recovered as customers will pay more for a more convenient bottle and brands can profit from customer social media engagement.

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. 

KapKeep asks the users to change their behaviour. However, they will do this because it is more fun and convenient for them to do so and as a result they’ll end up helping the environment. The prototyping and usability testing shown above told us that when customers pick up a KapKeep bottle it is impossible to miss the feature and users instantly want to know what it is for. It is then usually only a few seconds before they have figured out how to use it.

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

1. Further prototypes and expert help to build business case for brands 2. Patent costs 3. Visit and recruit the brands (travel expenses) 3. Funding of development bottle tool (part funded by brand?) 4. Travel to sales meetings


Join the conversation:

Photo of Soren null

Brilliant idea and renderings! Congrats!

Photo of Alan Somerfield

Thanks guys - have you managed to make contact with anyone at Lego yet?

Photo of Soren null

Alan Somerfield No, we're waiting to see the reaction here! What about you? Any reactions from the blowmolding crowd?

Photo of Alan Somerfield

The toolmakers are fairly easy to talk to - the real challenge is getting to talk to the big brands but that is where I'm hoping that the accelerator program can help since they have representation from several big brands on the panel. I can see Lego wanting to do your cap at least as a promotional idea alongside some advertising message. If I were you I wouldn't wait but start talking to them now!

Photo of Soren null

Alan Somerfield Well, an idea could be just to make your own bottled water brand using your own bottle? The impact is not big (due to low volume) but you remove all the market risks that the "salary slaves" in the big companies want to avoid! (It took 8 years for the inventor of the Nespresso to convince his management to make the product! All big companies are like that!). The investment in the tooling is significant though so perhaps a niche brand such as Norwegian (now Chinese) Voss would be a good partner? We think they sell their water in plastic bottles in the US (and glass elsewhere)! Thanks for the push re LEGO! Let's see! We would buy a case of "Somerfield Special" for sure!

Photo of Alan Somerfield

Love that expression 'salary slaves'!! Yes I have met many of them who will not take any risk whatosover and stop any chance of innovation.
I'm working on a plan to scale this idea and one way to persuade the big brands to take it on is to get it into the market on a small scale somewhere just to build some market evidence of sales so the "salary slaves" feel they are taking less of a risk!
And it occurs to me that 'Kap Keep' and 'Fun Cap' could work together - after all you wouldn't want to lose your cap before you got a chance to play Lego with it! Thanks for the inspiration and I'm clicking the add to team button :-)

Photo of Soren null

Hahaha, being a team mate sounds a bit like "work" so we'll kindly opt out - but for sure let you know if we come up with some new input! :)

Photo of Alan Somerfield

Hi. It's great to be back in the circular economy space again and thought you might be interested in my idea for the 'Beyond the BAG' challenge at Would appreciate any comment there and and 'applaud if you like it! Thanks, Alan

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