OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Coke Bring Bag: Reimagining the Home Recycle Bin

Made from recycled PET coke bottles, the Coke Bring Bag helps contain and transport recyclables while being itself recyclable. Pick-ups and drop-offs are easy: Coke Bring Bags can be picked up from any local Coca-Cola Bring Station or most super market registers for a small deposit or offered free with any purchase of a Coca-Cola six-pack or more. To drop off, simply leave your Bring Bag curbside, empty it in your recycle bin and save it for reuse, or bring it to one of Coca-Cola’s Bring Stations for collection.

Photo of Maya König
34 23

Written by

Explain your idea in one sentence

Coke’s recyclable Bring Bag is a flexible PET plastic recycle bin solution that helps you return or dispose of bottles and cans.
The Coke Bring Bag is made of PET fibers woven into a highly liquid resistant mesh. Much like pop-up laundry hampers, it’s light, cylindrical and collapsable, making transportation and storage easier for consumers and distributors. The bag’s flexibility allows for it to be dynamic within the user’s space––making space constraints within smaller apartments, hallways, closets, or car spaces less of an issue––while the bag’s liquid resistance keeps small drops and odors from cans inside, away from clothing and household surfaces. Being recyclable, the Coke Bring Bag does not require a municipal recycle bin to be present onsite to be collected. Coke Bring Bags containing cans can simply be left on curbside for collection and recycling with bottles, or returned full to any local Coke Bring Station. While made of plastic, this bag is far from flimsy: its sturdy canvas weave allows potential for multiple reuses. Even bags heavy with bottles and cans left on the street are at low risk of breaking open. Use of the bag is incentivised through purchase of Coca-Cola beverages: offers of free or heavily discounted bags. At its core, the goal of the Coke Bring Bag is accessibility and flexibility. We believe that the best solutions to encouraging recycling in home make it accessible to majority of people while versitile enough to fit within each user’s constraints and needs.

Describe how your idea would help form new habits and improve recycling at home

1. The Coke Bring Bag offers a more widely available, flexible, and affordable recycling solution than current municipal plans, particularly in urban areas such as apartment complexes, offices, and schools.

2. It is only minimally reliant on existing infrastructure.

3. It's offered at point of sale, connecting the package with its projected end-point from the moment of consumption.

How might you design an early, lightweight experiment to further develop your idea?

We sought early input from users, via suggestions for their ideal home recycling bins. Findings from this revealed that users sought a bin that was personal, functional, clear to use, low maintenance, and of physically variable sizes. From a culmination of these ideas and feedback, we created our design.

Next, we’d like to hear from users responses to using pop-up laundry hampers as recycling bins for cans and bottles. Going through a service flow or picking up the hamper from a local store, as if it were an authentic Coke Bring Bag. What was that experience like? What about it was convenient or inconvenient? How did the user feel about the size and feel of the Bag in his/her home, garage, car, office? If the user could change the materials the bag was made out of, how would it look and feel?

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input of our OpenIDEO community?

User feedback! We want to know how this would or would not work for you in your home. What would you add to made it easier to get ahold of and more fun to use? Knowledge on material limitations of PET. Feedback from designers on effective collapsable or adaptable forms, either made of recyclable textiles, or other recyclable materials. What is it like working for Coca-Cola Enterprise on the sustainability effort? What challenges have you faced in distribution or reception of your current bins?

34 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Maya König
Team

A friend of mine just referred me to this. Just love it! Reminds me of how we can not only learn how to recycle more, but also reuse. Also speaks to me as resonating with the ethos of the Coke Bring Bag in looking at how we can PET bottles can be recycled and reused in novel ways:

Coca-Cola Second Lives (Bottle Tops):
http://bit.ly/1kBx8t1

Photo of Samir Patel
Team

awesome work Maya! congrats.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Thanks, Samir! :) If you see anything you think could be changed to better fit your home or mobile recycling habits, let me know.

Photo of Samir Patel
Team

awesome work Maya! congrats.

Photo of Jess Wainer
Team

I think it's a fantastic idea. There are many times when I am out, have something I want to recycle, and there aren't any available bins. I like the comparison to laundry hampers. Because it is such an accessible example it helps me envision how this new product would fit into my life.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Oh good! :) Thanks, Jess. Yeah, I think we're going to go ahead and do some prototyping with hampers to start with, just to get a sense of cost, size, and material constraints/requirements. Great to know it's a useful analogy!

Photo of Julia Rubinic
Team

I'd love to know what you think of our Green Zone idea. We don't EXPLICITLY provide a sponsor, but the Coke bag could easily fit into the merchant area we focus on.

https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/how-might-merchants-influence-better-at-home-recycling-behaviors-and-improve-their-sales-and-community-standing-at-the-same-time

Love the visuals by the way.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Hey Julia, no explicit sponsor necessary :) I just thought it was good to keep Coca-Cola in mind for the Bring Bag, since, as the sponsors, they would be the ones undertaking the project. Wanted something that fit with the users, but also worked with the business and the valuable work they've done so far in recycling/ sustainability.

That said... looking at the Green Zone now! :) Intriguing.

Photo of Olya Myhaylovska
Team

Beautiful, simple design - I could see these being used as reusable shopping bags and then recycled once they start showing signs of wear. Nicely done!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Thank you! :) That's exactly right. That's the general idea at least. Now I just wonder how thick the PET weave would have to be to be durable and liquid resistant, but also something people would feel comfortable recycling with their bottles after 1-3 loads...

Photo of Robert James
Team

I think there is absolutely something in your coloration of 'red' for recycling.

Why does everything 'green' have to be green in colour also? - The qualifies we associate with red could be used to attract and retain action; it's exciting, vivid, sexy, bold, in-your-face, iconic... It's less Prius and more Ferrari! :-)

Photo of Maya König
Team

Haha! Robert, had never thought of it that way, but I like it! You're right--it may be a clearer call to action...Are blue and green too similar to give necessary contrast? I love your idea for the Coca-Cola Scrap store as well! Just saw this and applauded.

https://openideo.com/profiles/designrobert/

Have you seen SCRAP SF? Even if you are not in the area, it's a great example of people doing something similar in the physical realm.

http://www.scrap-sf.org/

Photo of Parnasri Ray Choudhury
Team

Hi Maya: What a simple "reduce-reuse-recycle" solution, it's explaining
innovation as well as helping people to quickly dispose bottles and cans.
I also posted an idea on "Demystify Recycling"-Mission # 2, in case you
may find it interesting to comment.Thanks in advance.

Link: https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/cycling-a-culture-of-recycling

Photo of Maya König
Team

Hey Parnasri! Thank you :). Would love to hear how you think this would or wouldn't work for you in your home or for people you know! Fantastic. Going to check it out.

Photo of Parnasri Ray Choudhury
Team

Hi Maya: Great to hear from you, would love to try this out at home, with families & friends, and will update, I'm sure this will be exciting. Lets stay connected. All the best.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Same to you, Parnasri! Yes, please, let's keep in touch. My contact info is in my profile as well. Feel free to shoot me a line anytime.

Photo of Kenneth Walton
Team

Nice job with the outreach video! It had a cool documentary feel to it. I know he was just kidding, but I think the genetically modified dog would make a great recycling tool for kids. I can see building one of those at Build a Bear with a few recycle accessories to take home. “Reco the Recycle Dog” the story would make a good inspirational take home and thought starter for younger recyclers.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Haha, yes! :) Yeah, its always so fun to do outreach; people come up with the wackiest stuff. Funny ones like Sean always remind me that you've got to keep it light and something that people will enjoy. Somehow having fun making it transfers to having fun using it. I love Build a Bear! "Reco the Recycle Dog" could be good. Maybe he could have a little recycle fanny pack like Bettina designed with the Pack and Go:

https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/xalskdgladkg

Photo of Purea Koenig
Team

some fun facts printed on the side of the bag would be great. For example this bag full of bottles saves x amount of natural resources and raises x amount of dollars for a good cause . Non profits, sports teams, schools, theater groups, churches can order them with their name printed on them.
These bags are so much better than using paper bags that get all wet and break or trash can bags that don't hold their shape.
They could also have an inspirational quote printed on them.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Love this idea, Purea! Reminds me of the Yogi Tea Quotes:

http://www.pinterest.com/ladydi67/yogi-tea-quotes/

I really like the idea of each bag having some different statistic or quote on it, making it fun to recycle one at some point and pick up another or compare your Coke Bring Bag to a neighbors! Great gamification for the bag.

Photo of Ling Zhou
Team

I am loving this design, but Maya have you consider the cost of this recycling system.
Coca-Cola did the simliar system in their glass products, however the system wasted amount of money and very inconvenient for people.
So maybe the cost is a important for the design!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Hi Ling! Thanks so much for your comment. I wonder what your background is and if you might have any figures or stats? I did consider costs a bit in initial designs, but it's certainly something I'd be interested in looking at with others further! I believe the price could fluctuate pretty dramatically based on the thickness and quality of the material used to produce the bags, etc. Keep in mind that a 10 cent price difference on a bag produced in such mass quantity could be considered significant. A little too much of a multivariable consideration at this early design stage, perhaps. Would love to learn some initial figures on recycled PET fibers and revisit it after some basic prototype testing to know what size, form, color, material strength the bag would have to take to be effective for users.

Photo of Ariane Zambiras
Team

I am loving the versatility of the design: handles up for carrying purposes, down to keep things neat and tidy (when carrying the bag full of empty cans/bottles in the car after a BBQ for instance).
Purea's idea of a portable/outdoors recycling bag really resonates with me. I think we are all familiar with tote bags for our grocery shopping, and with recycling bins in our homes, but being ready to recycle for an outdoors event is a new idea which could gain a lot of traction. I could also totally see the bag is in the closed position in people's cars at all times for recycling on the go/mobile recycling.
For my in-home recycling, I like to use containers that I can wash easily (with water and soap). I would worry that if the bag is positioned for indoors recycling, there could be a discontinuity in the recycling habit when the bag is taken back to the collecting point, or offered for pick up alongside the regular trash but not yet replaced.
This design seems perfect for mobile recycling.

Photo of Maya König
Team

Great point and very good to know. Sounds like the current mock-up says to people "something I would keep and wash" vs something I feel comfortable keeping for a time and then leaving on the curbside for co-recyling with my bottles. I'd be curious, after doing some prototyping to test the form and size, to dip into the industrial design: appearance and materials. Your comments make me feel these are probably weighing in heavily for people... valuable feedback––thanks, Ariane!

Photo of Zach Dierberg
Team

Great job with the container design!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Thank you! :) Would love to hear any thoughts, suggestions for adjustments!

Photo of Stefano Corazza
Team

Great idea, i'm so tired of using too small grocery bags for this. I was wondering how easy adjustable the size of the Coke Bring Bag would be... thanks!! Stefano

Photo of Maya König
Team

Oh good! :) Yes, I don't know about for you, but our paper grocery bag prototype ended up tearing with just a minimal amount of moisture from bottles. One idea for size adjustability was to push in the bottom to create a half or partially reversed bag. I need to upload the sketch, but the idea would be that partially reversing the bag would create structural stability at the base while helping to adjust the height. Depending on the success of the campaign, the bag could also come in two sizes--"portable" (mini, for at desk, in car, under kitchen counter, etc) and "stationary" (for large events, heavier takeouts, and in garage).

Photo of Purea Koenig
Team

This recycling bag would be great for kids sporting events (soccer, lacrosse, football , etc.... ) Easily collapsible when not in use and kept in the car.
Actually everyone should keep one in their car for use at picnics, beach parties, birthday parties etc.... Could even be a fundraiser for all kinds of organizations. Not only could they sell the bags but they would receive the redemption value for all cans and bottles in the bag.
It does need to be designed in a way that it stands up so that it is visible from a distance when needed but then collapses easily for storage and transportation when not in use.
I really like the fact that it looks easy to pick up and carry. Important to keep the size proportionate to the weight a person can carry when the bag is full of glass.
I definitely want one!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Sporting events--brilliant! Love the idea, Purea. Could also be great on a beautiful Memorial Day like today! We always end up with lots of recyclables after our BBQs but are often underprepared :( Good point about size considerations! We'll have to try different size prototypes filled with bottles. Thanks for the creative input!

Photo of Robin Sale
Team

Maya, this is an awesome idea! We all need anything that helps being organized easier and I can see many applications for this. Where can I get one?!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Thanks, Robin!!! :) Yes to multi-use application! Just upload a little infographic. The idea is that a customer could choose to purchase one at checkout or get one free a Coca-Cola purchase.

Photo of Mallik Reddy
Team

This is a really good concept!
Since it's made of durable canvas i'd totally bring it outside for a party and set it down for people to recycle beer bottles/soda cans. Also the coke color makes it really noticeable, and I like how the handles fold down to form a hole that i've come to associate with "bottles or cans"

Feedback:
1) Recycling logo appears a bit small in the mockup, i might not notice it from across a backyard or a larger room if i'm not the bag's owner
2) I'm wondering if it's a free-standing bag with a base or if it needs to be supported/hung... a free-standing design would be great for versatility.

Good stuff! Gimme one!

Photo of Maya König
Team

Malik! Awesome feedback. Good to know about the logo! I think that portion could definitely use some work. Wonder what a graphic designer might say. Could be fun to pull from some of Coca-Cola's other recycling icons/logos?

For the base––great point! Was imaging (since it's flexible) of a push in bottom, a kind of half reversible bag, that would create some material tension at the base to help hold it up. Glad you brought this up. Will upload a sketch! If you have any ideas of how this could work, let me know! Mine is just a first shot in the dark.