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Empowering responsible behaviour through loyalty.

An innovative consumer loyalty program rewarding responsible actions and decisions.

Photo of Angie Caro
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Idea Title


Idea Summary

CupCred is an innovative consumer loyalty program that incentivises small acts to reduce the waste caused by single-use cups, whilst promoting retailers who are socially and sustainably responsible.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

As above. Google Slides available here:

CupCred is a revolutionary way to incentivise consumers and businesses to avoid, or correctly dispose of, single-use cups. People have always been creatures of habit, but

we are on a mission to prove that small behavioural changes can equate to big rewards for our planet.

With CupCred, you can earn points to ‘give’ or ‘take’ for acts as simple as bringing your reusable cup to participating stores, or returning your to-go fiber cups, lids, sleeves, straws or liners to be disposed of correctly. If users opt to ‘give’ they donate their credits to environmental causes as part of a community donation program. Each month our network of responsible retailers will select three local causes to support, then users will elect to either donate their credits to one cause or spread the love across all three. Alternatively, users can accumulate and ‘take’ the credits for themselves to receive discounts on purchases at their favourite store. Everybody gets something!

CupCred is an eco-wallet for the circular economy, flipping the age old loyalty card on its head through simple to use technology. Our system can be deployed in a variety of scenarios, allowing patrons to pay for their drink and log their reward activity in one transaction by scanning a QR code in the CupCred user interface at the point of sale or disposal. Consumers and businesses can also track and share the impact of their individual actions through data visualisation, whilst joining a loyal network of conscious capitalists fighting global war on waste. Now that’s some fair dinkum cred for your cup!

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • All of the Above
  • Reusable System

How is your concept recoverable?

Our idea targets reusable cup loyalists, the well-intentioned but sometimes forgetful reusable cup users, the impulsive but responsibly conscious coffee drinkers. In this way, it targets recoverability in many ways by: encouraging the use of reusable cups (most CupCreds awarded) and encouraging the responsible disposal of single-use cups – in specific bins located at participating cafes. Even when fully recoverable, the single use to-go cup still has a significant opportunity cost impact on the environment and society; the resources used to make and recycle the cup could have a better impact on society elsewhere. By reducing the number of single use cups ultimately consumed, our concept provides a better long term outcome for society.

How have you incorporated additional sustainability attributes (beyond recoverability) into your solution?

Our plan encourages the use of reusable cups instead of single use cups, by increasing the breadth of incentives available for converting to, and continuing to use, reusable cups. The reuse of a cup over the long term is ultimately a more sustainable solution than recoverable single-use cups.

What regions do you plan to address with your solution (and how will you accomplish this)?

Our target region at the moment is Sydney, Australia because we are most familiar with the coffee drinking culture here. To achieve a high adoption rate in this target region, we would like to partner with cafe owners from Responsible Cafes ( to obtain support from responsible cafe owners. In terms customers, we would like to promote the concept across multiple social media channels to find communities (e.g. Fuckgiving on Facebook) that care about positive change.

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

As above, we see cafe owners and regular coffee-loving customers getting the benefit of this solution. For cafe owners, it’s a way for them to establish brand loyalty. For customers, they will gain rewards with ‘creds’ for acting responsibly, i.e. using a reusable coffee cup or disposing of to-go cups properly. ‘Creds’ can either be used in exchange for free coffee or distributed to the causes chosen by the cafe owners and community. We’s like to work with cafe owners that hold a strong sense of responsibility towards making a positive environmental impact (Responsible Cafes). We would like to target customers who have a daily ‘on the run’ coffee drinking routine, particularly while at work.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

What are the biggest challenges you are facing today? What are existing gaps in your solution?

Key gaps that will require further research and designing: – prototyping – securing partnerships – designing the user interface and software – designing for untrackable disposal of cups (outside of our service/ecosystem) – determining official team roles moving forward – sourcing resourcing and funding

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping
  • Fundraising / Finance

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

We’re a multidisciplinary group, who’ve come together as part of the Sydney Chapter. Our experience is varied but we’re all passionate about making a positive impact on people and environments around the world, using design.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

We’re a group of individuals, based in Sydney, working as a Chapter team.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

With funding, mentorship and support, we would look to doing more research to: – prototype and test – research and define the SAAS journey (incl. Rewards, incentives) – wireframe – define organisational structure – secure partnership with responsible cafes – design the user interface and software – design for untrackable disposal of cups (outside of our service/ecosystem) – determine official team roles moving forward – source funding

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email


Join the conversation:

Photo of Katherine Tinco

Hey Angie Caro and Team, I'm really interested in your take for the NextGen Cup Challenge. You mentioned that you would like to partner with cafe owners from Responsible Cafes. Would they be supplying you with the coffee cups? Also, I wanted to know if you're team will be coming up with a design for the recycling bins since as you mentioned on your storyboard that, a user can gain 10 points if they dispose of the recyclable cup correctly. How would you track this exchange exactly? Would the bin have a scan code itself?

Photo of Minjie SHI

Hi Katherine,

Thanks for your questions, please see the answers below:

Q1. You mentioned that you would like to partner with cafe owners from Responsible Cafes. Would they be supplying you with the coffee cups?

We have not yet engaged with Responsible Cafes and are not expecting coffee cups will be provided by them.

Q2. I wanted to know if you're team will be coming up with a design for the recycling bins since as you mentioned on your storyboard that, a user can gain 10 points if they dispose of the recyclable cup correctly. How would you track this exchange exactly? Would the bin have a scan code itself?

At the moment, we do not have a design for the recycling bins yet. However, once we have progressed to the next phase of the challenge, we will continue engaging with responsible cafe owners to kick off the design process. Ideally, the bin will have a system to recognize the rubbish that is put it in. Rather than using a scan, which is an additional action for the user to take, technology such as computer vision might be incorporated. Such technology can be used to detect who the user is and whether the correct part of the cups is properly discarded.

Hope the answers are helpful and thanks again.


Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Angie Caro ,

A friendly reminder the deadline to edit your submission is toady, November 16 @ 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please ensure all desired information, photos, videos, etc. is included in your submission by that deadline. Email nextgencup@ideo.comwith any questions.