Given the urgency of this problem and that most disposable cups ending up in the landfill are produced by global franchise companies such as Starbucks and McDonalds, we realized how businesses could take on the responsibility to switch to reusable cups, instead of persuading and waiting for the customers to sacrifice convenience and change their behavior on a global scale. In order to facilitate this shift, Cupbin will partner with these companies to implement a multi-phase circular system.
Phase 1: A circular system design + marketing strategy to integrate reusable to-go cups at Starbucks locations in NYC.
In this phase we leverage existing elements, including the abundance of Starbucks locations, their reusable cups and their existing app, which includes online ordering and a store locator feature, to design a circular system for re-usable cups to be ordered, picked up and dropped off at any Starbucks location.
Phase 2: Smart bins + decentralized collection & delivery system
In phase two, we expand the scope of participating partners, and design reusable hot/cold cups + smart bins to deposit and collect them. We then partner with existing delivery and transportation networks such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates and DoorDash to transport cups from bins to local coffee shop locations.
Similar to our aluminum disposable cup idea, called AluCup, these reusable cups have a two wall structure and are made from recycled, safe and light weight material, such as stainless steel or polypropylene. These cups can be used for both hot and cold beverages, and maintain temperature much longer than paper or plastic cups. The cups have a built in lid and straw that ensure all parts stay intact during the product life-cycle. In addition, each cup has a unique and multipurpose code.
Customers will pay a deposit for using the cup to guarantee that they will dispose of the cup in designated bins or at coffee shop locations. They get their deposit back plus extra incentive every time they return their reusable cups. If they forget their cup one day, they could earn the money back by bringing two cups back on their next visit.
Cupbin only opens when a consumer scans her cup's code over the bin. The bin then uses the code to automatically sort the cup and deposit it in a corresponding sub-bin (i.e. Cups with Starbucks barcode will be sorted in Starbucks sub-bin). When a sub-bin is full, the bin sends out a "pick up" signal that will be matched to close-by drivers through various partner networks.
Once a driver is matched to a bin, he will scan his unique identification code to open the bin and access the sub-bin matched to a local delivery destination, where the cups will be scanned and washed to be reused.
To promote these new reusable to-go cups, we can have a guerrilla campaign where there are bikes with a portable dishwasher in the back that washes the cups as the user pedals. This will bring awareness that plastic and paper cups are killing the environment, and that by switching to reusable cups we can help make the world a cleaner place.
The goal of the idea is to promote second uses with reusable cups and decrease the usage of disposable cups.