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OriCup — a one piece, flat ship, fold up, straw and lid integrated, hot/cold beverage cup!

The 2-layer design omits a separate lid, straw & sleeve integrating them in a ship-flat paper cup inspired by milk cartons & baking sleeves.

Photo of David Alan Foster
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The one-piece origami-inspired coated-paper design incorporates a triangular straw tube and fold-in tabs that serve as a lid. This eliminates the lid and straw as separate items. After use — probably single-use in this iteration — the cup can be placed in any compost bin. Folded, unfolded or even crumpled, this cup would be big enough to be easily seen and separated from the waste stream. Additional tabs that fold in create an insulating double layer, which also eliminates the need for a separate sleeve. This design eliminates the need for any plastic parts, small or large. 

Idea Title

OriCup — a one piece, flat ship, fold up, straw and lid integrated, hot/cold beverage cup!


Where are you / your team located?

Palo Alto, California, USA

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

This design is easily manufacturable with current, known materials and die cutting and scoring machinery. The triangular origami design will be a unique and intriguing design to begin with. As the novelty wears off, the outside of the cup can be printed in any color, with corporate identity for advertising, or with graphics that become apparent when the cup is folded up for use. Like any cup it becomes a commodity marketing vehicle. And, like any printed piece, the cost is in the die and setup.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Use Case: single-use compostable cup for liquid consumer products. Persona: Jillian, student at Humboldt State, California. "I love my iced coffee, and I like to use a straw since it's easier to sip without ice cubes getting in the way. But I don't like dealing with plastic straws and cup lids that contribute to plastic waste that doesn't get recycled; and the condensation drips on my papers and books. I want to have just one thing I can throw in a compost bin!"

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

This is a global idea, operable in any country. Startup would be local in the Bay Area and then major metro areas, enlisting coffee shops to try the OriCup in conjunction with the support of local sustainability/recycling/environmental campaigns.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

After manufacturing machinery and setup, it’s a matter of just adding more paper. Plain, unprinted “blanks” could be made and stocked in “cup reams” and printed later as needed. It is conceivable that, as more durable materials — i.e. compostable plastics or composites — come online, the OriCup could be reusable… unfolded, rinsed/washed, stored or carried flat to be folded up again for the next use.

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.

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

Top Idea status allows me the ability to spend more time on the idea, and strong incentives to attract industry experts, collaborators and team members. This product idea has both a lot going for it and a lot of competitors in the space. It would allow a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the Circular Economy, which I've been an evangelist for even before it was called "Cradle to Cradle."

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

I saw the contest, and was interested since I'm a life-long evangelist for environmental product design. The idea just popped into my head after reading some of the cases and personas. It has been strengthened as a viable product in a massive market in seeing the Compleat cup and many other iterations and similar ideas just in this contest alone!

Tell us about your work experience

I'm an industrial designer who works part time at a plastics distributor who endeavors to recycle as much as possible. I love clever packaging ideas, minimal packaging and origami.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

At this early beginning, I'm a sole entrepreneur... open to collaborators who might want to make this a business or license it.


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