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StepWash! : Playful Cooperative In-Store Washing System

A playful approach to cut the amount of in-store use of disposable cup using human interaction-powered dishwasher.

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Idea Title


Idea Summary

StepWash! is a washing system cooperated by coffee shops customers in order to wash and reuse disposable cups in a playful manner.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Riset Indie

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

StepWash! is an electric dishwasher operates manually on someone's steps on it switch. The switch is placed on a color blocked tile inside the coffee shops, inviting customers participation to play.

What we see in the shops?
On our field observation on several coffee shops in Bandung, Indonesia, we found that the amount of customers using disposable cup in-store is as much as customers that use it on-the-go. There are two main reason we found on why customers use disposable cup in-store:

1. Lack of choice (unconscious act). The store, mostly the fast food store type, was not giving enough option for the customers to choose from the start. The existing conformity was opted for the store dish-maintenance convenience.
2. People avoids being bounded with a place/shops, as they being unsure whether they will have to go somewhere else during their meals/drink. This results in their choice (conscious act) of using disposable cup even if they actually manage to finish their drink in-store.
(reference: some of OpenIdeo Chapters Researches)

However, many stores are opting out using mugs/reusable cup due to their short of time and staffs to do the cup washing frequently. Big coffee shops has too many costumers to handle (costumers amount are linear to cup usages amount), while the smaller ones doesn't invest much on washing space and cost.

Lack of choice, lack of time, lack of investment, but most of all..
Lack of consideration.

How might we...
If reducing on-the-go disposable cup usage is tricky, why don't we start by the other ends --reducing the in-store disposable cup usage?
Letting the customers have a better option, as well as make them do better after they have made a bad choice of product (disposable cup for in-store use).

Accordingly, our design challenge is "How might we make washing (disposable) cup fun and easy so everyone can join (and make it reusable)?"

This proposed cooperative system would let each party to make a better choice. When either having a disposable-cup on-the-go or fully using reusable cup in-store are both painful for any of each party,

We will offer the third option in between:
Using disposable cup in-store but wash it (cooperatively) afterwards.

We need both party (sellers and customers) to be considerate and responsible to their choice

How StepWash! works

Changing behavior using gamification approach. Equipped medium-scale and large-scale coffee shops with low-energy washing machine powered by human-machine interaction.

After using their cup (disposable or reusable) in-store, costumers are encouraged to wash the cup in a fun and easy way, giving a chance of someone after them using the cup they just wash safely. All they need to do is to interact with a certain tile (electric switch) connected with the washing machine: stomp, step, stand or jump on it!
The machine and washing process will be shown publicly as a part of the campaign.

Cup Material + Recoverability
StepWash! requires cups that washable on its both side and durable. The cup main body will be grown from mycelium as it locally available, solid, waterproof, and easily grown almost everywhere. While if needed, the inner liner can use Colocasia Esculenta (L.) Leaf Bio-Wax (on-going lab experimentation phase on Bandung Institute of Technology).

 (cr: Mycelium block from Mycotech, mycelium research  start-up from Bandung, Indonesia)

This system doesn't require a redesign of existing cup shape. But we did several prototyping on the R&D process.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Reusable System

How is your concept recoverable?

Give a second life for in-store disposable cup using human interaction-powered washing system. It gives people the ability to participate on providing a reusable cup system. Mycelium-based cup can be easily composted when reaching its maximum product-usage. Yet solid enough to endure being washed and used several times, making it a more sustainable choice and easy maintenance quality.

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

System incorporates bio-based local made materials. Solutions give emphasis on people participation and change of behavior.

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

This service system scheme should works globally once it tested. But this scheme work best for medium to large-scale shops. Piloting on one medium-scale (local) shop --> Piloting/collaborate with one large-scale (multinational) shop. All while doing campaign on social media.

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

Coffee Shops from medium to large store: Coffee shops and its workers doesn't have to invest high on mugs, time, space and human resource for cup maintenances (washing, disposing). The system intended to double the chance of usability of the disposable cup while keeping the easy and low cost maintenance for the store using customers cooperation. Costumers and store: Both will play their respective amount of responsibility of their product choice. Leading to a more considerate and responsible behavior.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

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

Technical and production supports (R&D). The playful washing system need the washing machine be built so we could take the next step to user testing.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping
  • Growth and Scaling
  • Legal

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

We are a group of 5 undergraduate students from various majors on the same university. One of us take environmental engineering study, another one take material tech engineering study, another two are product design students.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


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


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

GOAL: "Altering customers behavior and make each party do their share of env. responsibility" Production & Prototype Post-challenge business accelerator would be a big chance to make our service & product idea happens. Tested on real-life prototyped and tested on different cities and/or different shops type. Campaign while the service system may not make a big profit for the business, we are sure that it have a promising chance to be a big movements/campaign

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email
  • OpenIDEO social media

Inspired by (1)

Mushroom Cup


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