I began by thinking about how existing products could be used in a different way to simply achieve the goal. This inspired the idea of customers bringing their own coffee flasks to a coffee shop to be filled and reused. When researching this I came across places that had tried it, but didn't stick to it as there were too many hygiene concerns. Both for the barista handling the cups and also the machines used to make the coffee. Alternatively, a reusable flask could be provided to a customer at a higher price, and then exchanged for a cleaned one when returned. There are still some hygiene concerns here as it would be unknown how long the coffee flask was kept, and if it was used for something other than coffee in the meantime.
This lead me to consider the reuse of just one component, the lid. The following process allows for a simple solution which takes advantage of manufacturing processes already in place and could be implemented immediately.
Proposed Redesign Process:
- Firstly, the consumer would purchase a reusable coffee lid. This would be long-lasting and durable, and would be stored in a small carry-case.
- They would take this to a coffee shop of their choosing, where they can purchase a professionally made coffee. This would be served in a paper cup, without a lid.
- The consumer would then take their reusable lid and attach this to the coffee cup. This avoids any contact between the consumers items and the barista and their machines.
- Once they have finished the coffee, the paper cup can be disposed, while the reusable lid is kept in the carry-case ready to be taken home and rinsed ready for the next use.
This process consider all parties involved and causes little disruption to current processes already in place.
- Paper cups are a universal item, available in standard sizes. This would not need to change as the lid would be designed to work alongside them.
- The recycling of paper cups can be improved over time as the lids would no longer be a concern.
- Plastic lids would be replaced entirely with reusable lids and avoid becoming waste.
- The lids would be easy to implement as they would follow the same design principles as reusable flask lids. Only the connecting feature would need to change.
Consumers could make their own coffee at home and use a reusable flask each day. However, this is not appealing to all people as coffee-lovers enjoy professionally made coffee. Others do not want to carry an empty flask with them after they have finished, and also, washing these cups afterwards is another chore. There are benefits to the proposed system that benefit these consumers.
- Consumers can enjoy professionally made coffee while also making a smaller impact on the environment.
- Only the lid needs to be kept, which is much smaller, and can be kept in a bag discreetly.
- Multiple lids could be purchased and kept in the home as they are smaller. This allows consumers to continue with a 'grab-and-go' habit if they did not have time to wash one in preparation for the next day.