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Lily

A disposable plant-based cup.

Photo of Dwight Alexander

Written by

Idea Title

Idea Summary

The Lily is a disposable cup that is made from a Water Lily Pad.

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

This solution addresses which of the following:

  • Cold Cup Only

How is your concept recoverable?

Lily Pads are a aquatic pond plant and mature much quicker than a tree would. This will make the source quicker to replenish after harvesting. When harvested after its maturity, like the mythological Hydra creature one becomes several. The Lily cup purpose itself is not to be recoverable.

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

The leaves of hardy plants are circular in shape with smooth, round edges. These natural characteristics minimize the processing required of the material to get to the forming stage. Also, There is already a waxy cuticle covering their surface. This features aids in the shelf life and storage, protects them from tearing when handling and allows the beverage to roll off the surface so the leaves retain and never absorb.

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

This solution will last as long as the Lily Pad can maintaining its key traits out of the water. An experiment to determine the life expectancy of the Pad usefulness out of the water is key. This will be the deciding factor when determining what regions this solution will address.

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?

Producing a viable product that needs to be a very useful solution is the biggest challenge. Gaps needing to be filled are a Business Model Development, Materials and Technical Development, Engineering and Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Sustainability and Recoverability, Waste and Infrastructure, Product / Industrial Design and Prototyping, Branding / Marketing and Storytelling, Growth and Scaling, Legal and Fundraising / Finance team members.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Materials and Technical Development
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Fundraising / Finance

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO announcement email
  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

14 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Koldun Victor
Team

An ordinary cardboard cup breaks down in the natural environment roughly in a year or thereabout. Approximately how the fallen leaves does, consisting of the same cellulose. In order for the new material for the production of cups to become a cost effective replacement of cardboard, it should decompose order faster, somewhere in a month, maybe two or three. This is at an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (according to NASA). But when we pour water near a boiling point, at a temperature of 95 degrees, into such cup , according to the rule of Svante August Arrhenius, all the chemical processes in it, including the self-decay of complex molecules, respectively, accelerate. The minimum acceleration will be somewhere 250 times, and the maximum will be about 65,000 times. That is, for a disposable cup that has been filled for at least an hour, and this is a real situation somewhere on a picnic, there is all the chances to pour out their content on the table at best , at worst, on himself or his electronic devices. Even if this cup was made a few days before that and was stored in a stock in perfect conditions.
Therefore, the question arises - how do you deal with such issue?

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Dear Koldun Victor,
Yes, the waste production rate is a part of the equation to create a cost effective cup but; there is more than just that. A few more factors to consider are the harvesting, manufacturing, and consumption rate, all of which also affects cost. Here is why the Lily would be much! much! more of a better material than a cardboard cup in just those field.

The Lily Pad surpasses the growth rate and matures much faster than a tree; because it’s a plant. This drives the cost of the cup down. Lily Pads are not a sought after material for any other product, meaning it’s more the price will go down further.

The processing needed to make a finished cardboard cup is far more expensive than the processing a Lily Pad would ever need to get to finished Lily. The Lily Pad is almost there; it just needs a little help. But a tree looks nothing like a cardboard cup so, mustn’t there be more processes to get it to a paper cup? Yes, and processes cost money.

Assuming the consumption rate increases based on the population growth, we can only imagine the price of the Lily will go up because of the economics law (Price = Supply and Demand). People who were uprooting massive piles of Lily Pads and tossing them out just to make beaches at their lakefront houses now have a reason to nurture more of them because value came to the Lily Pad. Now Instead of clearing that lake to make the beach, they would become Lily Pad Farmers because it is now another source of income. This incentive will increase the Lily Pad supply driving the cost down and since they populate much faster than a tree it will keeping their value minimal.

Since we have already decreased the cost of the cup before reaching the waste production stage through the other factors; the Lily cup has already proven to be a more cost-effective replacement of a cardboard cup.

The Lily same as the all other disposable cups would first show signs of degradation before failure. The Lily will not pour out your content on the table or on one’s self or their electronic devices if used correctly. After its expiration, it will begin to decompose having served its usefulness time period. Cups are not programmed with timers; they know not when their usefulness time is expired they just act. Even if the expiration date has not passed but signs of failure are apparent, there is no guarantee that the Lily will be safe and effective. If your Lily has/hasn’t expired or is beginning to show signs of a failure, do not use it somewhere on a picnic.

Did this answer your question?

Spam
Photo of Ben Smith
Team

Hey, I was curious as to how the lily cup would react to a tight hand grip. The material seems somewhat flimsy and may crumble and spill beverages if someone holds it too tight.

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Dear Ben Smith,
The Lily cup would react the same as if a paper cup would to a tight hand grip. In an exception to the waxy cuticle and veins, a Lily Pads traits are linear to paper; the Lily cup is able to utilize the same strengthening techniques paper cups use.

One way of improving the strength properties of a paper cup is to cover it with an insulated wrap. These overwraps also provide an opportunity for advertisers to target customers and generate additional income for the coffee shop. They also add insulation to the thin paper cups.

Another way of improving the strength properties of a paper cup is to make paper cups with many layers. One multilayer paper-cup version combines a strengthening liner with a decorative, outer layer. In addition to better insulation, this provides an opportunity for advertisers to print on the outside of the cup.

The Lily will not crumble and spill beverages if used correctly. However, after its expiration, it will begin to decompose having served its usefulness time period. Once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the Lily will be safe and effective. If your Lily has expired, do not use it.

Please don't hesitate to ask any further questions or concerns.

Spam
Photo of Phoenix Gobbee
Team

Very innovative Idea, however how would the cup hold up after a while or when used with beverages aside from water?

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Dear Phoenix Gobbee,
The Lily will hold up if used correctly. However, after its expiration, it will begin to decompose having served its usefulness time period. Once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the Lily will be safe and effective. If your Lily has expired, do not use it.

Water lily leaves are particularly adapted for water life, with the primary cells used for photosynthesis on the top surface of the leaf that faces the sun. A waxy layer, or cuticle, coats the top of the leaf so that the plant can "breathe" and to drain off excess water and keep the leaves from sinking. Wax belongs to a large class of organic chemicals that are hydrophobic. This feature will affect most beverages.

Did this answer your question? Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Spam
Photo of Ismam Mursalin
Team

Hey, I just wanted to ask if the lily cup would have any insulation from things like hot coffee. The cups we use now do a good job in keeping our hands safe from the heat, but I am not sure how it would feel holding a cup of hot coffee in a cup like yours.

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Dear Ismam Mursalin,
Thank you for your question. Yes, paper cups do a good job of keeping our hands safe from the heat. As a result of utilizing layering techniques to improve their insulation properties. This means that customers hands would be exposed to the blistering heat of the liquid inside without using the techniques.

Lily Pad traits are similar to paper; the Lily is able to utilize the same insulation techniques to improve its insulation properties as well. Therefore, the same feelings you have while holding a paper cup can be replicated with a Lily.

For example, A way of improving the insulation properties of a paper cup is to cover it with an insulated wrap. These overwraps also provide an opportunity for advertisers to target customers and generate additional income for the coffee shop. They also make the thin paper cups stronger and more rigid.

Another way of improving the insulation properties of a paper cup is to make the paper cups with many layers. One multilayer paper-cup version combines an insulating liner with a decorative, outer layer. In addition to better insulation, this provides an opportunity for advertisers to print on the outside of the cup.

Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Spam
Photo of Niharica Bawa
Team

Hi Dwight,

Just wondering, will the lily plant effect the taste of the beverage in any way?

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Hi Niharica Bawa,
No, the Lily Pad plant will not affect the quality of the beverage in any way. Its natural waxed surface makes it hydrophobic [repels water]. Because of this trait the beverage never actually comes into contact with the Pad.

In most cases while drinking from paper cups it’s our tongues coming in contact with the cup; not the actual cups mixing with the beverage that effects beverage quality.

Yes, compared to a paper cup the pads spicy and peppery taste is definitely a bit of an acquired taste.

Did this answer your question?

Spam
Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Dwight Alexander ,

Great to see you in the Challenge! I'm wondering if there is any research you can share about why this material choice seems like the best choice for this Challenge compared to other organic materials? Additionally, out of the mentorship needs you mentioned, which would you say is your top priority?

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Hi Lauren Ito,
Glad to see another “Pad” has bloomed in our pond (message board), we as humans are like Lily Pads… Compared to other organic materials the Lily Pad seems like the best choice because of its combination of traits.

However, this is more of a compare and contrast question; especially because we are comparing organic materials. Using this list below please share any other organic material you see meets or beat these Lily Pads traits. From there we would be able to introduce relevant research as to why the Lily would be the best solution.

A Lily Pads leaves are:
1) Thick, sturdy and easy to handle.
2) Wax coated, water repellant.
3) Flat, less processing needed for manufacturing cups.
4) Large, a pad is capable of yielding several cups; a flower sometimes has as many as 24 pads.
5) Veiny, added reinforcement and flexibility.
6) Grows well in any USDA hardiness zone.

Now, if given the choice to choose a top priority out of the listed mentorships needed. Someone skilled in Engineering and Manufacturing, because that sort of experience will be critical at this stage of the process. There are too many unknowns about how to produce a viable product that needs to be investigated in order for this to be a very useful solution.

I am looking forward to speaking with you soon about other organic materials you have found.

Spam
Photo of Seema Datta
Team

Hello Dwight,
Excellent idea to use a real lily leaf to produce a cup. The first question that comes to mind is how do you propose to ensure the leaf itself is clean or sterile before use? Would a UV light work?

Spam
Photo of Dwight Alexander
Team

Hi Seema Datta,
This method of disinfecting a Lily Pad using a UV light has a high probability of success. There however are no case studies to prove this, therefore we cannot say it will work for sure.

These links below will shed a healthy UV dose on any useful microbes reading.

1) Here is a link to learn more about UV disinfection and how UV light impact plants below:
https://growlightinfo.com/the-effect-of-uv-light-on-plants/.

2) Here is a link to an example of how UV is used to disinfect for water treatment:
https://viqua.com/water-treatment/uv-water-treatment/how-does-uv-disinfection-work/

Yes, were talking of a extremely quick physical process. But we still need to know for sure how it affects the Pad because it can be alive at this point. Assuming the manufacturing process will not change from how paper cups are made today.

It beats the idea of rinsing it off like a head of Lettice before consumption.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. I am looking forward to speaking with you soon.