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Hepi Circle

Reward and reuse system to maximise the use of reusable cups in cafes.

Photo of Kumala Susanto
5 2

Written by

Idea Title

Hepi Circle x Next Gen Consortium

Idea Summary

Improving the use of reusable cups for dine in customers with exclusive rewards package(s).

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Hepi Circle

Website (if applicable)


In Indonesia, there are 380 Starbucks stores and 180 McDonald's restaurants in 2018. Based on our interviews this week with one Starbucks store at a residential area and 1 24 hours, independent, and big size McDonald's restaurant at public/residential area in Surabaya, there are approximately 300-500 cups waste at Starbucks store each day and 1.100 cups at McD. This cup waste alone is found in waste bin, without the to-go cups considerd.

The data shows us that each year Starbucks Indonesia throws approximately 55.480.000 cups (average 400 cups a day x 365 days x 380 stores) and McD Indonesia throw approximately 72.270.000 cups (1.100 cups a day x 365 days x 180 restaurants) inside their store/restaurant. 

The cost for such waste is quite massive. Starbucks cups has high quality material, based on our price estimation by comparing prices on manufacturer e-commerce platform, the price per cup is IDR 2.000 (USD 0.13). While McD use paper cups that usually will be charged to customer who asked for rock ice for IDR 700 (USD 0.05), we assume that their COGS for this cup is IDR 500 (USD 0.033). This means that Starbucks Indonesia throws USD 7.212.400 per year and McD Indonesia throws USD 2.384.910 per year to their stores/restaurants waste bins and still has to pay for it monthly. (We were told by Starbucks assistant local marketing manager that they have to pay around IDR 4 million (USD 267) for waste pick up each month on residential area, stores at mall definitely would pay higher).

(We can not be exact about how much the cup price since we could not access the data).

We have not counted about the carbon footprint that is produced by the manufacturer of such huge amount of plastic as well as the footprint from delivering the disposable cups.

Our Believe

We believe that people can come back to the reusable habit and we are dependant on other stakeholders to make this happen.

We believe Starbucks and McD would love to reduce the negative environmental footprint from their operation. Therefore, Hepi Circle, as a reduce and alternative delivery system company and design consultant, would like to propose the system to eliminate this waste-at-store by simply changing the customer servicing scenario at cashier. 

Customers' Views

We also had interviewed some customers at Starbucks and McD (students and workers), they will confidently choose to have reusable cups while hanging out at stores even if they are not given any rewards. Due to the massive campaign of plastic pollution, they know they have to do something but they want it as easy as possible, and using cups at store is very easy for them. Unfortunately, they are not used (mostly forget, or because they do not have the habit) to ask the reusable cups themselves and since the store standard is giving the plastic cups, they are just okay with using the disposable cups.

Our Idea

Our main idea focus is on reducing the plastic waste-at-store (cups, lids, cup sleeves) by changing how the cashiers at cafes/restaurants work and give additional rewards for customers who do so. 

Customers and Cafe/Restaurant Servers Experience:

First, we add two simple questions on every order to make sure that customers have their right to choose to be more eco-friendly while spending their time at cafes/restaurants. In order to complete this scenario (all the two questions and customer answer), there will be additional 5 seconds to the serving time for each customer.

Those two questions are: 

1. Would you like to eat at cafes/restaurant or to go or take away?

If the customers like to take away their order. This scenario stops. But if they like to eat at the cafes/restaurant. The cashier can ask second question:

2. Would like to use reusable cup of plastic cups?

We make sure that we promote about the cleaning standards using other promotional tools. 

Second, the rewards system would be an additional advantage if they choose to use reusable cup. We propose to use points that are different than the current point system (Starbucks Indonesia has Starbucks Star as a reward point), we can call it eco-point/eco-star. Customers can combined this point/star with the regular point/star to redeem exclusive eco-merchandise/menu that they can not redeem with money or regular point/star. We will conduct further research on what kind of merchandise that they would love to have as their eco-merchandise/menu. We also would like to propose that the merchandise would be locally sourced from community enterprises, but customers need would be the number one consideration.

So, for dine-in customers, there will be no significant change on their experience at store. Additionally, they can get rewarded with exclusive eco-merchandise/eco-menu.

We had experienced this scenario once when we visited one particular Starbucks cafe at Surabaya International Airport a long time ago, and we share it on our personal facebook page. The response is very positive, they appreciate the cashier and the stores that do this and hope that this will be applicable to all stores.

Cafe/Restaurant Janitor Experience

We propose to have one designated janitor to clean the table and the cups using the current standard. We have the calculation that the saving money from reducing the cups would be enough to pay additional janitor(s) for each store. Since their jobs do not directly engage with customer, all they need is smiling whenever they meet the customers. We suggest to hire a disable with speaking or hearing disability as a janitor. This will benefit the company since there is a regulation in Indonesia requires company to hire at least 1 disable employee in every 100 employees or 1% from total employee (Law Number 13 Year 2003 on Employment and Law Number 8 year 2018 on Disable People).

Hepi Circle x Next Gen Consortium

We will work hand in hand to design the system, including redesign the interior of the cafes (esp serving area) since bigger space to put all the reusable cups might be needed; procurement of the cups, bigger dishwashing in-store facility, and/or eco-merchandises; develop anti-theft system (to prevent the cups from stealing if this case occurs significantly), design co-promotion strategy, hire and educate extra person as janitor, monitor and evaluate the impact of the innovation, develop point calculation system that seamlessly integrate with the current store system, etc.

The eco-points that is generated from customers eco-action from our Next Gen Consortium and Hepi Point can be converted to one another, like the current points system that is used by bank credit cards point with airlines mileage that can be converted.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Hot / Cold Fiber Cup
  • Cup Lids
  • Cup Sleeve
  • Cup Liner
  • Reusable System
  • Alternative Delivery System

How is your concept recoverable?

The reusable cups are made from recyclable materials. To prevent stealing, cups can be made of glass or some antitheft chip/sensor can be seamlessly attached to the cups. Since cups are meant to be used for many times, we don't need to recycle this often unless it's broken.

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

Reusable cups are made with food safety standard materials, usually made of glass or ceramic or steel or very durable plastic that can be recycled locally.

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

We target cafes/restaurant in Indonesia which still use disposable plastic cups at their store.

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

1. Cafes/Restaurant, they do not have to do all the details themselves, and do not have to find and hire special team inside their company to do all the work. 2. Customers, the feeling of being a part of the solution of the world biggest problem without sacrificing their convenience when staying at cafes/restaurant

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

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

We already got a chance from local Starbucks team to do a small pilot in a cafe that is not crowded. We need stores top management to make it all over their stores.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Growth and Scaling
  • Fundraising / Finance

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

Kumala, experinced at Indonesian Law, Business Development, and Social Innovation Design. I am responsible for Hepi Circle Business Development area. The team roles can be seen on the team page. Supported by Anne, designer at Hepi Circle detergent

In what city are you located?

Surabaya, East Java

In what country are you located?


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

n/a. We plan to register as limited liability company.

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

Becoming a Top Idea will boost our business. The money from this challenge will be used to develop the database system, procure equipments that is needed for pilot, pay allowance for volunteers. We still have sustainability issues with our other initiatives since they need many validation tests until we can fully operate. If we can partner with the consortium to implement and further develop our innovation, we can get the operational fund to support all the team to work full time.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email
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Team (3)

Kumala's profile
Teddy's profile
Teddy Chung

Role added on team:

"Teddy is a software engineer who graduated from University of Indonesia as the best graduate of his class. He worked at several Indonesian tech companies and found that he strongly motivated on working to create social and environmental impact. He enjoys to be part of the discussion on designing solutions to improve the system to be more efficient using technology."

Gamaliel's profile
Gamaliel Waney

Role added on team:

"Gama got his MLA from Harvard University. He had experiences on build and manage companies. At Hepi Circle, he has responsibility to build the management system at Hepi Circle. Besides, he also have high interest on technology and social media. Therefore, he will work together with dan Teddy to enhance the system and social media."


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anthony Zammit

good idea but we still need to get away from plastic, maybe ceramic cups in the cafes.

Photo of Kumala Susanto

Thank you for your feedback Anthony. It is really a great idea. We sure will provide some options on cups materials on store based on the need of the customers.

We found on our research at Starbucks, people sometimes bring their children to the stores on weekends and there are some requests for hot water and it is usually served with ceramic cups. Unfortunately, these cups, based on historical record at stores, broke down easily when they are given to families with children. Therefore, we should provide unbreakable reusable cups, and it is usually made of plastic. But, any other options are still open as long as it doesn't break when it hit the ground accidentally for this segment of customers who dine in the store. The risk of this breakable ceramic cups for families with children is not only the cost of the cups, but also the convenience of the overall customers who might be shock for a broken ceramics sound and its small broken particles that should be cleaned as soon as possible to ensure the safety of the customers (esp. the children).

Photo of Anthony Zammit

Yes, I understand want you mean. SAFETY FIRST

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Kumala Susanto 

Great to see you filling out your submission. I did want to make sure you knew your submission is currently in draft form. Was this your intention? With the deadline for a complete submission by this Friday, we recommend making your ideas public as soon as possible so our community can provide feedback. You can continue editing your submission until the final deadline!

Please click "publish" on your idea at the top of the page. Feel free to tag me with any questions you may have.

Photo of Kumala Susanto

Dear Lauren Ito ,

Thank you for the reminder. I did this on purpose since my research around this matter had not finished yet. I plan to add more info about the idea and publish it today.