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The R-Cup Circular Aluminium Cup

The R-Cup is a familiar concept designed to keep a known recyclable material at its highest value while helping towards a circular system.

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Idea Title

The R-Cup

Idea Summary

The R-Cup is designed to be part of a circular system, where customers habits are not affected but their environmental impact is.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)


Website (if applicable)

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

The R-Cup is designed using a mono material and manufacturing technology which is universally abundant and universally regarded as a valuable recyclable material by customers and consumers. The R-cup is produced using a drawn wall ironing process and a die stamping process. This is a mass production method which is commonly used worldwide.

The R-cup is designed for hot and cold beverages, the same design can be used for both the only difference is the sleeve for hot drinks to prevent fingers from getting scalded. The lid has the option to be crimped onto the design to prevent spillages. The designs are cheap to produce on a mass scale and can be customised for each brand.

The system I have conceptualised will help to reduce the number of items which will be recycled and move people towards a more reusable model once mindsets have been changed, this is a long-term goal though.

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • All of the Above
  • Reusable System

How is your concept recoverable?

From my research people already consider aluminium as a recyclable material, the habit is already there I have just taken advantage of the material attributes. The design doesn't affect customer habits, it only changes their environmental impact.

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

The R-Cup is only a small part of the design. I have designed a system, where there are prompts and intersections where simple changes can be made to increase the likelihood that customers will lean toward reuse in the future rather than recycle. This was based on customer feedback.

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

The design is aimed at a global marketplace, using local manufacturing to reduce shipping costs and greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Specifications of the design can be specified and a white paper could give advice on how to produce an R-Cup with the correct functional specification.

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

I have tried to make the design accessible to everyone, for people on the go the lid can be designed so it could be cracked open like a can and crimped onto the cup to prevent spillage, this will also help when the design is transported. The shape of the mouthpiece could be changed and adapted to the most ergonomically suitable for children and adults, I would aim to have one design which is right for both hot and cold beverages.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Prototyping

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

I would need more time to test the concepts with users, gather feedback on the design and run a small scale consumer analysis where the whole life cycle is prototyped on a small scale in different environments. I would also need to work with a supplier to gain their feedback on the strength of the design as I have my reservations on how strong the current design will be but I know the material can be shaped to enhance strength properties. Financial support to understand how the figures for the business case would add up, what weights would make sense and how the tooling for the production would stack up.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Fundraising / Finance

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

I am a professional Packaging Designer who works for Unilever, I have 6.5-years experience working for an FMCG company where I have worked on over 30 packaging projects. At the moment this has been an after work exercise after joining the party late.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?

United Kingdom

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


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

It is my ambition to make this world a better place through design and Packaging design is one of the biggest hot topics of this year and will be until the problem is solved. In my current job, I do not rest until I have created a design I am happy with and meets all expectations. You will not find a bigger advocate for sustainable design, I design concept packaging and built a green team at work where we already removed all fibre cups from the site, next I want to take on the world.

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Consortium Partner social media

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Joe,

A friendly reminder the deadline to edit your submission is toady, November 16 @ 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please ensure all desired information, photos, videos, etc. is included in your submission by that deadline. Email nextgencup@ideo.comwith any questions.