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optional single use tax

Re-thinking about our waste and use of single use containers by encouraging bringing your own through an "optional single use tax."

Photo of Micki Curtis
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Written by

Idea Title

Save money and the earth by bringing your own!

Idea Summary

Simply charging extra for not bringing your own plus a savings for bringing your own cup, mug, container, etc. There would be a TBD charge for taking a single use, plus a savings for bringing your own

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Lemon Frog Shop Vintage Bazaar

Website (if applicable)

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

There was really no image so I put my shop's photo. We are a certified green business through Los Angeles who is always think of ways to protect the planet.

Instead of looking to produce more stuff, even though more sustainable, we must focus on no single use at all. We need to change our mindset that this is a disposable society. The biggest motivator is money! So my idea is a simple one: Charge significantly extra for taking a single use anything and pay less when bringing your own. The exact amounts would need to be determined, perhaps a percentage. But not a small amount like a CRV. A much more substantial amount that equals the devastation the product causes the planet and then some. For example, a 50 cent savings plus 50 cent charge on a coffee would equal $1 savings if you bring your own mug.  Some people would not care to pay and this tax would cover infrastructure and the cost of more sustainable cups. It is kind of an optional tax as you choose to pay it if you don't bother to bring your own, but do not have to pay if you are being sustainable! If you use their dishes, no charge either way. The money made by this is not extra profit, but can be used to purchase more expensive sustainable products and the rest as a tax for infrastructure. If it is for food, and sanitation is an issue, they can first place the food on foil and drag it onto your reusable. Coffee shops can make in a reusable and pour. And of course you would need to bring your own straw or a separate, smaller fee would apply for that.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • All of the Above
  • Reusable System

How is your concept recoverable?

My idea eliminates single use completely for those who do it. The extra money will go towards a more expensive solution you will find here by someone else. Put our ideas together! But please do not simply accept an idea to produce the same amount, albeit, more sustainable. And compostable is a farce as they can only be composted in an industrial, which never occurs.

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

My solution is absolute sustainability as no new goods are needed!

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

I am hoping you will take my idea and run with it.

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

Everyone will benefit. I hope this happens at all coffee shops, take out restaurants, etc. Even schools who are serving hot meals to children in dangerous plastic. The establishments can sell their own reusables or people can just invest in a good set on their own. What great holiday gifts these would be and many more jobs would be created.

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?

Just getting my idea out there and for people to think about the waste they are creating with their daily coffee and take out.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Legal

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

I own a sustainable business, a vintage shop. I am a mother and I care about the earth. I just want this to happen and it does not take any product planning or testing!

In what city are you located?

Los Angeles

In what country are you located?


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

Sole Proprietor

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

I really just want to get this idea out there and for someone to take it on. I am very busy with my shop and being a mom!

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Direct email invitation

This inspired (1)

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Fion Liao

could not agree more. the environmental externalities associated with disposable cups should be added to the purchase price. for example, the Responsible Cafes initiative which offers the financial incentive for people to bring their own cup. Very easily adopted by cafes which is why they have over 4,000 participating cafes worldwide. But I agree with you, I suspect charging for the wastefulness would have a bigger impact. If single-use became too expensive it would be much easier to fund efficient dishwashing of durable reusable cups and more.

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