OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Collapsible Keychain Cup

The Collapsible Keychain Cup (CKC) is a reusable cup persistently accessible for convenience and sustainability.

Photo of Kristin Sardina
8 5

Written by

Idea Summary

Our solution is a hassle-free collapsible cup that can carry both hot and cold liquids and be easily stored for transportation on a keychain via a built-in compression and locking mechanism.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

OpenIDEO San Francisco Chapter

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

This is the Hydaway bottle. Our vision for the Collapsible Keychain Cup is very similar to their collapsible cup.

We believe consumers don't need another fiber cup; they need one cup to serve all consumption needs. By initiating behavior-change through the use of a reusable cup, food distributors, like Starbucks and McDonalds, save on costs, the environment is saved from single-use containers, and consumers don't feel guilty for their food consumption habits.

The Collapsible Keychain Cup (CKC) is the solution to provide consumers with a light-weight, portable cup that can be connected to something as perennial as ones keys to ensure that one always has a cup on-the-go. 

Consumers at participating Starbucks and McDonalds would enjoy the convenience of an exclusive, express-lane for individuals using a reusable cup. Not to mention, to encourage both sustainable, reusable cup behavior and patronage at participating vendors, customers would enjoy the 10th beverage free! 

Customers can buy a CKC at participating vendors, as well as online through direct-to-consumer marketing channels. CKC's come in an array of colors and patterns, to meet the design choice of the customer.

A CKC cup is made out of Thermoplastic polyurethane, a soft, plyable plastic like silicon, which is ribbed in a way to support the cup to collapse upon user-initiation of a downward force, and with a snap-in lid to contain beverage contents. The lid and cup snaps into and out of a ring on the customer's keychain so that she can pop the cup out for use, and snap it right back in for storage after use.

The CKC would be a partnership with companies such as Hydaway Bottle or HydraPak© to build off of the incredible product they have created, and to leverage existing supply-chains.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Some of the Above
  • Reusable System

How is your concept recoverable?

Partnering with specialized bottles and cup companies such as Hydaway Bottle or HydraPak© will allow us to maximize the recyclable properties in the materials used for our product. Recoverablities can be solved in two ways: 1. The product is used simultaneously on the consumer's keychain where they can self-clean after use. 2. Product's material can be recycled in multiple ways such as grinding and reuse or particle bonding. Polyurethane foam, for example, is regularly turned into carpet underlay. If it is not recycled, the preferred option is energy recovery.

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

The material used for the keychain cup will be made out of Thermoplastic polyurethane. This product is beyond a “single use” plastic and is intended to be used thousands of times over its lifespan. The solution will also incorporate returning or recycling to participating vendors.

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

Our solution is geographically agnostic, however, we are interested in targeting the US market first. More specifically, we would like to target sustainably-focused communities, such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Once we have gathered data and feedback from these locations, we would aim to expand to additional store locations within the communities. Eventually, we would like to target most of the major cities in the developed world.

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

Benefits to existing reusable cup customers - Lighter weight so more desirable to carry around when not in use - Collapsible so can carry it on you when empty or not in use - Attached to a key chain for persistent access - Coffee shops take on the burden of washing after use Benefits to existing disposable cup customers - Faster! Reusable cup express lane - More value! Frequent buyer - "4th cup on us" Benefits to coffee shops - Less trash in their shops that they need to sort - Two lines to serve customers more efficiently Benefits to the environment - Less petroleum-based products, which don't break down - Less packaging - Less carbon emissions in transit

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 biggest challenges we face are access to materials development, manufacturing, and supply chain. Our team has experience working on product development and go-to-market, however, this particular synthetic cup material is slightly unfamiliar to us. There are many examples of similarly functional products, so the path to a viable product is ensured. Our commoditized solution would still need support from experienced plastics scientists and materials engineers.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Supply Chain

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

We are an eclectic group of designers and product managers with a shared passion for human-centered design solutions. Together we seek to create impact via sustainability projects and solutions to communities and individuals.

In what city are you located?

San Francisco

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.

If we are fortunate to be selected, our team will benefit greatly from the resources provided. The funding will assist in paying for materials and tools for continued user research, prototyping, and manufacturing. Product develop is capital intensive, so any assistance that we can receive would be valuable in securing an engineering design firm. We will use the accelerator as a way to bridge the gap between our concept phase to commercialization through intensive focus.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shaina Kaplan

This is a great idea! Perhaps if it can fold down to the size of a wallet it will be easy for consumers to place in their pocket or in a handbag.

Photo of Anthony Zammit

I believe it is a great idea but may be too big as a key ring, for this reason I would not use as key ring.

If it had different way of transporting it around, maybe

Photo of Anthony Zammit

Maybe it can be carried as key ring or have a clip to clip on belt loop of pants, on to hand bags or in car.

maybe then

Photo of Kristin Sardina

Hi Anthony Zammit, and thanks for your comment.

Looping the ring to a belt loop or onto a handbag is a great idea. The intent with a keychain was to ensure that the cup is on your person regularly and not forgotten at home or in a bag. Your point about size is a good one, as not everyone prefers a large keychain. Allowing it to connect to other items such as the ones you suggested is a great amendment. Thanks!

Photo of Anthony Zammit

all good, glad I can put a positive spin on you ideas

Photo of Ferdous Zaman

I really like this accessible cup idea with the inclusion of keychains! Though I do have a inquiry: Even though it is reusable by major companies, would it be reusable regardless of weather? It may be beneficial to the public overall, though I think that weather variables should take into account of the fluids of the cup if it would be truly accessible, one notable example being temperature as it can alter the preservation of heat or cold (like a thermos).

Photo of Addison Nuding

Hello Ferdous Zaman , thanks for your note. Yes, we would expect our product to work in any condition and climate. The vessel is able to withstand hot or cold temperatures from the beverage.

Photo of Francesco Stumpo

Really like how this idea is keeping in mind the portability and to collapse a cup for ease after drinking!