First, lack of awareness and proper knowledge about recycling among consumers is one of the main contributing factors in the high level of consumption of plastic and paper cups: Most are unaware of the recycling process for each material, and assume that all plastic cups get recycled globally, or that paper cups (fiber cups) are biodegradable/recyclable. According to our primary and secondary research, both these assumptions are false; yet, they remain integral to current consumer attitudes and behavior surrounding disposable cups.
Moreover, the lack of distinction between recyclable and biodegradable paper and plastic material confuses the consumers even more, and creates issues when sorting and recycling the material both for the consumers, waste collection and the recycling plants.
Second, inconvenience of using reusable cups is one of the main factors that impedes consumers to reduce their consumption of disposable cups. They are inconvenient to carry around and clean. Moreover, most consumers, especially in the U.S., are on-the-go drinkers who like to dispose of their cups as soon as they are done.
Third, while corporations like Starbucks and McDonalds like to find an alternative material that is sustainable and green, they still need the new material to be cost effective and scalable. Yet, most biodegradable or compostable material in the market remain costly to mass produce, especially in the short-term, mainly because of the high initial set-up cost.
Our goal is to improve the convenience of using disposable cups, without requiring the consumers to learn a new habit or change their existing behavior. Furthermore, we aim to make a cup with a material that most people already know how to recycle (unlike fiber or biodegradable cups). This can be an “easy” way to create a global shift without having to change the consumers' experience or make them learn and adopt a new behavior.
To overcome these obstacles and alleviate the main pain points, we are focusing on creating disposable to-go cups, using a material that is globally available, recyclable and cost-effective to mass produce and convenient to use and dispose of for the consumer. We are focusing on making a disposable cup made entirely out of aluminum that can be used for both cold and hot drinks, disposed of easily and sorted/recycled entirely on a global scale.