The idea is to build a profitable circular economy model connecting beverage shops and consumers through a convenient and trackable set of reusable thermally insulated cups. This system has the potential to dramatically reduce the volume of single use cups being used. The current alternative of carrying a reusable coffee mug around is inconvenient. The Cup d’Etat system circumvents this problem by enabling members to pick up their drinks in a reusable mug and conveniently drop it off, once they are done. This sharing system is complimented by add-on services which benefit both the beverage stores’ and consumers’ convenience, financial spending and environmental footprint.
For the user, the first step is to subscribe and purchase a customized lid. Individualized lids address potential user concerns surrounding hygiene; it allows for greater emotional attachment to give a personalized feel and identify the user as a recognizable sustainability promoting advocate. Cafes will be provided with a sufficient amount of reusable cups to meet the consumers’ needs throughout the system.
Each lid is equipped with a QR code connected to our smartphone app, the user simply orders through the app which enables the cafe to prepare their beverage ahead of time in a thermally insulated cup. The customer places their lid to complete the purchase and the system places a small deposit from the user’s account. The unique personal lid thereby creates a traceable identity for the user that also serves as an agnostic loyalty card for all participating cafes, enabling the user to participate in bonus programs and discounts without subscribing to each store's individual reward program. Once the customer has consumed their drink, the lid is detached and the cup is returned to a conveniently located collection bin or participating cafe. To roll out return bin infrastructure, we plan to explore corporate sponsorship to help cushion costs in return for publicity and marketing on the bin surface. Once returned, the cup is automatically recognized by the system, which refunds the user their deposit.
To incentivize participating stores, Cup d’Etat offers compensation to collect and wash the required amount of cups for re-use from nearby drop-off stations. Leveraging well-established shared transportation services like Uber/Lyft/Kiwi along with opportunistic work platforms (e.g. TaskRabbit/ WorknGo) and local city services, cups can be transported and distributed as appropriate to match supply with demand. Small financial incentivizes set and promoted to users by our system will ensure that dirty cups are transported to the cafe where they are needed for the next use. This removes the need for a centralized cleaning facility while maximizing the use of existing dishwashing machines in cafes. Stores responsible for washing will be stringently vetted and assessed based on their credentials to enforce a high quality of cleanliness.
Additionally, the system provides data analytics services to monitor cup traffic to ensure constant flow and adequacy of supply at stores. These insights are especially beneficial for smaller cafes who do not have the resources to employ sophisticated business planning tools. Future applications encompass prediction tools for expected customer numbers in a given store and individualizing the coffee experience for consumers based on their preferences.
Once the infrastructure is in place, the reusable cups model can be further extended to other products such as convenience store soda bottles, gym protein shaker bottles, takeaway boxes or even supermarket packaging.