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.
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.