I am actually rescuing an idea I submitted last year for the Circular Desing Challenge that I didnt get an opportunity to follow up on. The idea first came around when a buddy and I took a closer look at how beer festivals in Europe manage to have "zero-waste" beer drinking experiences. Essentially what they do is that they get you to pay a small deposit to be able to use those 3-pound German beer mugs in addition to the beer price. They do it this way because you can imagine the amount of "accidents" that might happen at beer festivals and the organizers want to make sure they are not loosing money on broken beer mugs. But the nice "side-effect" is that at the end of the night, there is virtually no waste coming beer consupmtion like there is in concerts or sports games.
This is because a deposit system follows principles of a Circular Ecomony. People dont care about the mug, they care about the beer! We have found that this is certaintly the case with coffe and other fast food drinks, so why not apply the same principles?
The essence of the idea is to apply the same deposit system from beer festivals and incorporate it to coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and/or any other distributor of fiber to-go cups. The only difference is that single-usage fiber cups would be replaced by a more durable, more recyclable and refillable option.
How it (could) works
See drawings (take it easy on me since I'm not the greatest drawer XD)
The solution itself would be a platform service for both businesses and users in the format of a webapp.
Step 1: Lets say Sam goes to get his morning coffe at a participating coffe shop and he orders the usual small cold-brew coffee to-go
Step 2: Sam will then pull up his phone with his app siplaying a QR Code
Step 3: Sam will pay the fee for coffe (which may come at a discount consdering the savings from not having the additional COGS from disposable cups) as well as the refillable cup deposit.
Step 4: Sam gets electronic deposit token on his phone app as well as possible reward points from the coffee shop.
Step 5A: Sam can return the cup at any participant location for his deposit back
Step 5B: Sam can return to repurchase a beverage (repeat step 1)
Step 5C: Sam can keep the cup (deposit covers the cost anyway)
Step 5D: Sam can recycle the cup
This platform could also have an option for people who want to bring their own reusable cup. The only thing that may change here is that Sam does not need to pay the deposit. He could still enjoy the discount and the reward points.
- Application can provide customer analytics and consumer patterns.
- They could use platform to have more direct line of communication with users
- Save money on single-use cups
- Improve brand image
- Participating in program results in higher traffic from users wanting to return cup which may lead to sales
- Receive discunted prices on drinks
- Can be eligible for rewards
- Leveraging technology, the application can include elements of gamification with badges and scoreboards that would be visible for every participating user
- Coffee (or any other drink for that matter) consumption could be a guilt-less experience
- Less waste in the ecosystem
- Opportunity to raise awareness of global waste crisis
This is something I did not include in last submission but we are now starting to see the consequences of not addressing these global issues. At home in Guatemala, we are at legal risk with other nations for how our waste management impacts other countries (let alone the incredible damages we are suffering internally)
This idea is a positive solution for what is now an issue that all nations are responsible for.