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Reduce, Re-use, Re-Caffeinate.

Instead of making it more economically convenient to BYO coffee cup, make it more difficult to purchase coffee in a single use cup.

Photo of Niharica Bawa
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Idea Summary

This is based on loss aversion concept of the Prospect theory, where people would rather avoid losses (Charge higher for reusable cup) than gain monetary benefit (get discount when you bring a cup).

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

This is not a product concept idea because so many companies have developed reusable cups, but it is a transformation in buyer habits idea focused more on marketing.

According to me, the current problem is not with creating more ideas for reusable cups but creating ideas to get people to USE the cups. This is very simple, yet effective when implemented problem. 

Touch people where they are most sensitive ie MONEY. If the regular price of coffee is $4 then instead of offering a $.50 discount on the coffee when you bring your own cup, offer a $1 surchage ie make the coffee $5 if they DO not bring a coffee cup. This had been proven by research, that people avoid loss rather than look for gain. This can help use the buying behaviors of customers for the better of the environment. 

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Some of the Above
  • Reusable System

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

Considering Australia, starting in the major cities ie Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane etc where there is a more take-away coffee culture.

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

We can collaborate with companies like Keep a Cup and other sustainable products companies. We can sell their cups to the local coffee shops, and by campaigns and through this pricing strategy help target the take-away coffee market more effectively. It is really important that we increase the availability of reusable coffee mugs for purchase to reduce the barriers between need, want and purchase.

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?

The gaps are currently in the mindsets of the individuals.

In what country are you located?

Sydney, Australia.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ben Smith

I believe that using a rewards system like you described would work in convincing people to purchase and use their own cups. In addition, making the cups collapsible would help in this also since it is more convenient to carry around this way.

Photo of James Francis

Hi Niharica Bawa - top stuff!

I am a co-organiser of the OpenIDEO Sydney Chapter whom are hosting a NextGen Cup Challenge Design Sprint at UTS Startups this Saturday 3 November from 10am-5pm if you are interested and available. We'd love to help you workshop your idea!

Here's the link to RSVP via Eventbrite:

Photo of Micki Curtis

We have such a similar idea! I agree, we should not be focusing on new products, rather mindsets to bring your own so as to not make any waste or new products. Money speaks louder than anything to most and the money charged could be used for much needed green infrastructure, such as more compost sites which are lacking here in the states. If we could get the law on our side and those fees take effect, I am certain we will see change without having to develop, market, and replace before seeing change. This idea requires no resources and the mindset from coffee cups will carry over to all single use products and updated items can always be added. For example, students should be packing their own forks and spoons so as not take single use plastic every day.....

Photo of Funke adesanya

I feel this is a great marketing strategy to reduce the use of single use coffee cups. It is almost selling it to the customer that for an extra $X you can get the reusable cup and get your coffee cheaper next time. It will also instil a habit for people to be bringing their reusable cup.

The only downfall of this strategy is that if certain coffee shops do not go on board with this idea, they might end up gaining more business by selling cheaper coffee compared to the companies that join the trend.

Good idea though!