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nuSpoon compostable origami spoons

nuSpoon tasting spoons will offset the plastic tasting spoons that are used once and discarded

Photo of Matt Brooks

Written by

nuSpoon tasting spoons will offset the plastic tasting spoons that are used once and discarded

Idea Title

nuSpoon origami tasting spoons

Company / Organization Name

nuSpoon

Website

www.nuspoon.com

Where are you / your team located?

Mt Hamilton, CA. Manufacturing and inventory in Smyrna, GA

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

I love places like armers markets, grocery stores, and icecream shops. At the good ones, you can mosey around and taste new flavors and products. But I can't stand using a plastic spoon for one bite and throwing it away. Every singe taste on a nuSpoon can keep a plastic spoon from being used once and discarded.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

case 3 - but with spoons

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

I'd like to replace as many plastic spoons as possible. Farmers markets and grocery stores are my target.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

I'm not a salesmen, but my friend Brett is. He's working to get the word out and get the product in stores. The next obstacle is securing raw materials for the next production run. The minimum order quantity is a truckload, which is about $60,000 worth of paper. I also need new tooling that includes intuitive embossed instructions. That will cost between 5 and 10k. In addition to the production run I need help with marketing and sales.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Full-scale roll-out: You have developed a pilot, tested, and analyzed the impact of that pilot as it pertains to the problem scope. You are ready to expand the pilot significantly and begin to scale.
  • Operating Concept / Startup: You have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and are currently operating this concept/idea as a business.

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

If nuSpoon won the large prize, with the help of experienced folks, we could displace plastic spoons in farmers markets and grocery stores across the country, and maybe even the world. The first step would be to verify the design that includes instruction. Next would be where I need help : marketing and sales. And then production. Success will be when I go into a store I've never been in and taste something I've never tasted on a nuSpoon that someone I've never met folded.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

In 2007, after a surf in La Jolla with some friends, we stopped at seven eleven. I got an icecream Popsicle and went outside to eat it. I was enjoying it until my friend Eric walks up to me with chocolate icecream all over his face, lid folded into a poor excuse for a utensil, asking me if I had a spoon. I didn't, but I wrote down the problem. In 2010 I folded some paper and cut out the first shape.

Tell us about your work experience

I worked on helicopter electronics in the Marine Corps, and now I work at the Lick Observatory as a telescope technician and operator. I've also worked in the cycling industry and quality management.

10 comments

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Spam
Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Matt Brooks 

As Refinement Phase quickly comes to a close in LESS THAN 8 HOURS, I want to remind you that the following must be submitted by tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

1. Submit the Refinement Questions Form online that was sent again via email yesterday evening--we have not yet received this from you. These questions are mandatory for Top Ideas consideration, so this should be your first priority in the final stretch.

2. A secondary priority, which is optional, is to update your Refinement Phase post. I see you've already updated your concept on the platform. But please share any additional information, photos, and documentation of your progress throughout this Phase!

Looking forward to reviewing and celebrating the amazing work you've achieved this Refinement Phase!

Spam
Photo of Troy Gardner
Team

beautiful design, now if you can only make it double as a maple seed it could actually fly!

Spam
Photo of Matt Brooks
Team

Thanks!
That would be awesome - or wildflower seeds, or bioremediation fungi / bacteria, (that would be safe for use with food of course)

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Matt!

Welcome to refinement phase!

How does the cost and environment footprint of the Nuspoon compare to single-use plastics?

How could this scale e.g. take-aways etc?

I would be really interested to see a Nuspoon created from a tear-off. Is it possible for you to produce a rough prototype with video?

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 - krushton@ideo.com

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.

Spam
Photo of Matt Brooks
Team

Kate Rushton 

At low production, the cost compared to single use plastics will be higher, but I think at a larger scale could be competitive.

As for the environmental impact, using a nuspoon instead of a single use plastic will offset the possibility of that plastic ending up in the waterways since nuSpoons are compostable.

For scaling, integrating into existing packaging via pressure release adhesives, such as on the side or lid of a yogurt or soup are one way. As for a pull off, you could attach a coupon to a sampling spoon so that when a potential customer tastes your product at a supermarket, they've already got the coupon in hand. or integrating it into to go boxes... I've used nuspoons on multiple occasions eating leftovers when I didn't have another utensil available.

In the past, I've also designed spoon tickets for a chili tasting competition, where you would get a book of spoons and each one was "void when folded" (you could give the chili chef the nuspoon, she would fold it, then give you a taste of chili with the folded nuspoon) - never went into production though.

Spam
Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Thanks Matt Brooks for sharing your creative idea! I'm wondering if there is an economic incentive for vendors to use the nuSpoon over plastic spoons? What is the price comparison?

Secondly, what would need to happen for this idea to be implemented at scale?

I saw you were located in the South Bay. We have an OpenIDEO Palo Alto Chapter that will be a great resource and community to connect with for this and future challenges. https://beta.openideo.com/chapters/30

Looking forward to learning more!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Matt Brooks - I am interested in your response to Lauren Ito 's questions. If you have a free moment, would you answer or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Matt,

Really interesting idea and great video!

This is a thought that popped into my head and please tell me if I have 'got the wrong end of the stick'. Could a Nuspoon replace a tear off and be the covering for something like a yoghurt or humus and people take off the cover and create the spoon.?

Something like this - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/69/e3/6d/69e36de87d259ed5a58fc4e5143afcbb--clever-packaging-food-packaging.jpg - where the nuspoon is a spoon/lid for a yoghurt e.g. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ae/a0/64/aea0643d030f5f0f2dbe67cdc8337490--plastic-food-containers-plastic-pots.jpg?

I am just trying to understand some of the potential possibilities.

I noticed that you are selling on Amazon. Are you able to share with us some information on the types of customers you have been selling to?

Spam
Photo of Matt Brooks
Team

Hey Kate,

Glad you like the idea and video :)

Integrating the nuSpoon into packaging is definitely a good application! I actually included a few ideas for that on the patent application
https://www.google.com/patents/US20140238987
I do want to steer clear of petroleum based plastics though.

As far as customer information, I don't have enough sales yet to get useful data.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

So, you could have cardboard yoghurt tub with a 'nu spoon' lid? I guess the same for ice cream as well.