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The average person living in New York City drinks 3.4 cups of coffee a day. As most of the coffee is drunken in disposable cups on the go, the environmental damage is tremendous. In total, all Americans throw away over 50 billion paper cups every year. That means wasting approximately 20 million trees, 20 billion gallons of water and energy to power 53,000 homes for a whole year.

Cup&Co is a concept that aims at frequent coffee drinkers and provides them with a system to use their own reusable cups more often. Based on the insight that coffee shop owners do not want to introduce a solution that is more expensive or less convenient, Cup&Co focuses on changing the behaviour of the customers.

The concept is based on a flat rate system. The user selects a package that includes a monthly coffee allowance and pays directly to Cup&Co. Choosing a coffee plan the user receives a special cup in return. The cup contains a chip for wireless payment in its ground plate. When the user wants to have a coffee he needs to take the cup with him, as all data relating his coffee plan is stored on the chip. For receiving the coffee he places the cup on the wireless payment machines known from credit cards. He will then get his coffee and Cup&Co pays the coffee shop. Through the number of customers using Cup&Co and the guarantee of them bringing their own cups, Cup&Co can negotiate a lower price per cup. This enables the user to save money while reducing the amount of trash he or she produces.

Using the wireless payment technologies known from credit cards Cup&Co can be used in almost any coffee shop in the world and is therefore easily scalable.

The cup itself consists of an outer form made of aluminium and an inner form made of plastic. The two-walled design has an isolating effect on the cup. Furthermore the cup is optimized for three different situations: enjoying, drinking on the go and taking away. Based on these situations the cup includes the functions of storing the lid in its ground plate when enjoying a hot drink and a lid mechanism that closes tightly and can be opened and closed very fast. The grip structure wrapping around the cup ensures a safe grip and functions as an interface for a modular system. This system consists of metal rings that lay in the grip structure and add functionalities such as a bike attachment or an additional handle.


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  • Name:
    Thomas Gossner
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Sofia Tendeiro, Karen Li, Yutong Shen, Sean Bautista, Queenie Sy Peng, Dong Xinjie, Thomas Gossner
  • Profession:
  • Patent status: