It’s been a few months since we spoke to the KeepCup team and they’ve got something exciting to share with us.
Tell us about the new product that you’ve launched.
Yes, we’ve been busy turning off the tap on single-use plastic, so to say! Since 2009, we’ve been challenging convenience culture and the widely accepted single-use product industry standards. With the help of our customers, we started a reuse revolution and helped transform the disposable cup landscape.
While we started with coffee, we realised very soon that behaviour change is required well beyond the coffee drinking moment. What we’ve learnt along the way about the broader context of single-use plastics, had a resting impact on us, a couple of statistics in particular. Globally, 20,000 single-use plastic water bottles are purchased every second, knowing that only 9% of plastic produced has been recycled to date, adding to it the amount of single-use plastic waste we generate every day, our focus needed to widen.
The last 24 months really, saw us working on a whole new proposition, a new formula for reuse on-the-go. KeepCup Bottle, the first in the soon to be released screw-fit Helix range. It lets you twist together an Original or Thermal cup and multi-material extensions into classic bottles or insulated flasks. A design solution both that’s versatile and hygienic.
So, a KeepCup, but Bottle?
Exactly. We have campaigned for a world that neither needs, wants, or uses disposable cups, now we’re going that one step further. We do have and engaged audience, heads full of ideas, the design capabilities, a healthy local supply chain and relevant operational relationships, why stop? Where we challenged ourselves is how to give our audience something more than just a “bottle”, we had to do it our own KeepCup way. Why design a bottle when you can develop a 2-in-1, cup-to-bottle system? Why offer single material, size, colour, when you can offer a multitude of choice to meet one’s preferences and needs?
Ok then, let’s take a moment to unravel the design inspiration behind your products.
Design and sustainability are inextricably linked at KeepCup, and where one goes the other follows. We know that considered design is key to ensuring something is used and reused, again and again. We know that quality of materials used impacts the enjoyment of use, but also product lifespan. We know that hygiene is one of the main barriers for ongoing product usage.
Every product that ends up in the hands of our customers, or everyday changemakers, as we like to call them, must embrace fun, functionality, quality, and modularity to stand a chance of serving its purpose. As for the Bottle, our design objective was to create a product that aligned with business values and stayed true to the iconic shape of KeepCup. The tapered silhouette for easy pour and sip, the distinctive shape, use of highest quality materials (BPA and BPS-free plastic and double-walled stainless steel), component durability and interchangeability, are iconic to us. The drafted vessel is designed for a pleasurable sip, the bottle extension adds symmetric volume and elevates the organic shape. The Helix range is at once coherent and comprehensive.
What was the biggest non-negotiable for you through the design process?
Sustainability, always. The awareness of the single use plastic pollution is not the problem, it’s the convenience culture we’re up against, and ensuring we give the movement enough momentum for governments and big businesses to follow suit.
With the KeepCup Bottle and the new Helix range, we needed to ensure we add value to customer experience and elevate product functionality, so that the product itself serves as a constant reminder to refuse, reuse, refill. If reuse is going to be a daily habit – which has been our goal since the beginning – we know your KeepCup needs to fit the way you drink and live, not the other way round.
The Bottle’s twist-in-half design facilitates a thorough clean, a significant design drawback for the longevity, and usage pleasure of so many bottles. No more bottle brushes or vinegar required. Tick.
The Helix Range is really a cup-to-bottle system, inevitably lightening the load of the on-the-go reusables we carry with us every day. No more excuses for forgetting your reusable cup or bottle, it’s both, a 2-in-1 solution. Tick.
Your innovation guru, Lou Dyer, has been working alongside Abigail Forsyth, the business co-founder, since the inception of the business. What is her next brief?
There’s a sense of pride but also momentum. She always says that “good design is one of the most important considerations in the circular economy”. We never rest on our laurels, so while our products are launching in market, and new materials become available, she’s working on improving our already incredibly high sustainability credentials.
The product has the impetus to shift behaviour and show that innovation around materials and human-centred design, can drive systems improvement and change.
Stay tuned for the launch of the full Helix Range on 5 September.
Explore more at keepcup.com