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PushPop Bottle - Reimagining disposable soda bottles and their closing mechanisms

A single bottle with integrated push-to-drink closing mechanism removing the need for multiple plastics and detachable bottle caps.

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For this challenge entry, I am reimagining how soft drinks will be consumed in the future - removing all need for multiple components - maximising the properties of recyclable plastics.

The design process

As with many of my designs for this challenge, the solution appears to be somewhat left field from current designs. With Cuppuccino I explored how one could integrate all the components of the disposable coffee cup into a single unit. I took this further with the PopLock concept addressing the challenge of the crisp tube most notably used by Kellogg's 'Pringles' brand. I tried again with the bottle cap and battled with the single-unit concept. Whilst the design for the FloCap remains novel, it does reflect old design logic enforcing itself on new thinking. I needed to go back to the drawing board - and this is where the PushPop Bottle concept was borne.

The design mechanics

With this concept, I am discarding that which we are familiar, and focusing purely on a new way to package drinks. With this design I have removed the need for a separate cap entirely. Everything required is moulded from a single blank of plastic, blown to support whatever brand design desired. The closing mechanism is a strip of plastic, essentially with a hole in it. Once the bottle is filled the strip is inserted into the holding rails of the bottle opening - locking the strip in place at the point the opening is sealed.

To open the bottle, the consumer would first need to push down on a tab that breaks the locking mechanism. The tab remains attached to the bottle but is no longer of use. This ensures the drink arrives fresh and proves of no tampering.

Thereafter to drink or pour from the bottle, the consumer simply pushes down - with a slight backwards pull to bring the hole in the strip in line with the hole in the bottle. As long as the consumer has their finger pressed, the bottle will remain open. No sooner as they let go, the tensile strength of the plastic, wanting to return to its original settled state, will spring the bottle closed.

The consumer is unable to pull the strip completely out of the bottle as the strip has a latch on the end inserted into the bottle that cannot pass a catch designed into the bottle.

The reality

Whilst I don't see many bottlers rushing to take up this design without a proof-of-concept, mainly because it will require retooling of the filling mechanism as well as a whole new process for capping off the bottle (inserting the strip). However, should the persuasion of this challenge encourage a bottler to invest in prototyping, the opportunity is one that may likely reduce the price of the bottle and be applauded for its attention to environmental waste.

The benefit for the brave

Consider that every empty bottle will be sealed when it is discarded, should a bottle find its way into the ocean, it will float - making it easier for skimming. With no bottle cap, this design eliminates and small unrecyclable waste. What's more, should the bottler invest in biodegradable technologies, the entire bottle can be compostable.

This challenge has changed my business outlook

As I look at my submissions I realise that the challenge has made use of years of product design principles that I would typically apply to digital applications. I have used my research and investigative skills to help me quickly iterate designs, applying the latest thinking.

As I progress with this challenge, I am looking to broaden my business from digital products to physical products - bringing forward over 27 years of service; research; customer/user engagement; workshops; analysis; strategising; designing; testing; delivering; monitoring; failing and repeating... into seeking out clients who are able to challenge me with need for innovation, with one caveat, that that innovation must have a positive impact on our environment and social welfare.

Thank you for inspiring me.

Company / Organization Name

Uservox Limited

Website

www.uservox.com

Where are you / your team located?

Somerset, United Kingdom

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

The use of a single plastic blank to make a bottle with integrated mechanical closing mechanism removes any small plastic waste.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

This idea strongly supports Use Case 2 - Bottle caps and tear offs - and provides a simplified solution to aid Michaela, Trevor, Benjamin and Carmen in easing their decisions around how best to dispose of such a bottle.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

This idea will be too big for me to take on on my own, therefore I will use it as a catalyst to promote to drink makers in the hope of being afforded the opportunity to manage, develop, test and trial the prototyping of the design. In addition, should this and/or any of my submissions be successful, I will look to use these as examples of how I like to look at and respond to challenges with the hope of growing my client base. Incorporating physical product design into my core services.

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.
  • 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.

The access to mentors, contacts and support will be invaluable to being to take ideas further than proof of concept. Opening doors for new possible clients seeking innovation, adapting my business from focusing purely on digital product innovation to include physical products that support the environment and social welfare.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

This will be my 4th submission to this challenge (5th for all OpenIDEO). With each entry I am looking at the use cases and considering what I can imagine, using my years of experience, to suggest new possibilities. With my most favoured product, Cuppuccino, I can see how I can evolve that product personally, whilst with the other designs, I will need great support from a key industry player to succeed - and therefore have started to look at this challenge as a means to grow my service offering.

Tell us about your work experience

My background has led me through design, marketing, user research, customer experience, and business strategy and innovation - primarily for digital products, with an earlier career in print.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Uservox Limited - Product innovation consultancy.

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Hi Kate Rushton  

Unfortunately the clock has run out on me achieving the requirements in time. I've managed to put together the requirements for Cuppuccino - temporary reusable coffee cup - temporary reusable coffee cup  . The TypeForm that came through today was a godsend - if only it was delivered at the beginning of the refinement stage. Even though I recall something hinting towards this was covered in the Refinement Briefing session, it was unclear that we would not be prompted. I took your Welcome message below as what I was expecting. :/ A good lesson for both of us in future OpenIDEO challenges.
Oh dear. Fingers crossed for Cuppuccino. I know this one and FloCap are quite left-field ideas that require engagement with drinks and packaging manufacturers and brands to take forward. And where I've established this as being a valuable direction for my product design services (beyond digital) over a product I feel I can bring to market myself.

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