In Brief

CUPUP is an inflatable thermal mug, designed as a portable and sustainable drinking solution, promoting reuse. After purchasing the cup from Starbucks and upon reuse, the customer can have the cupup cleaned and receive benefits as a returning customer. To ensure convenient carrying, the cup can be easily deflated when not in use and sealed tightly.

In order to ensure a lasting change towards sustainable consuming we feel that convenience of use and economical feasibility should be taken in to account. Therefore, based on extensive research we present the combination of the design of the cupup product and accompanying business plan, as described below.



The cupup differs from traditional thermal mugs in order to overcome the bulkiness and clumsy handling. The double-wall sides are made from strong but flexible material. The user inflates the area between the two walls by pressing a pump located in the base of the cupup. Inflation of the double-walled sides provides structural strength and adds insulation for the beverage within the cupup.

After consuming the beverage, the users can easily deflate the cupup, compress it, and toss it back in to their backpack or handbag until the next use. No worries; the cupup�s lid will enable hermetic closure so that remaining liquid will not spill.

In terms of shape, special consideration was made to include people with varying gripping capabilities. In addition, the dimensions are appropriate for standard bottle holders in backpacks, on bicycles and in vehicles.


Business Model

In order to encourage people to buy a cupup and continually reuse it, we offer a business model that is worthwhile for both the consumer and Starbucks.

The basic principle of the business model has the customer buying a cupup from any Starbucks store at a reasonably low price and then rewarded for each reuse of the cup. Rewards include both financial incentive and improved consumer experience (customized beverage or quicker service). For that purpose, each cupup will have a digital marking, such as a barcode or chip, which will be recognized at any Starbucks store. When the customer orders a beverage and gives their cupup to be filled the store automatically sterilizes the cup and serves the beverage. In this way, Starbucks saves the cost of buying, shipping, storing and disposing of disposable cups. In addition, customers are encouraged to return.

When the cupup has reached the end of its useful life, customers are encouraged by a partial refund to return the cupup so Starbucks can recycle it.


Environmental Implications  

The main goal of the cupup is to promote a practical and convenient form of reuse. Even though the cupup requires a somewhat more complicated production process than that of disposable cups, the business model encourages multiple reuses during an extended period of time, and in the end, recycling.

Compared with a disposable cup, cupup does not turn into trash after a single use. From its second use, cupup saves transportation and waste.

Compared with the thermal cup, the cupup is not bulky and thus encourages daily usage under all conditions of mobility.

Use of special equipment for cleaning cupup in the stores can yield a meaningful efficiency in use of resources required for cleaning the cup in comparison to having the customer clean it.

Finally, the business model represents an educational step towards reuse. The positive reinforcement is not a one-time event but continually worthwhile for the customer. 



The initial design and business plan for the cupup was created during 2008 at an M.Des course at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. We are happy to share our new and improved version with the Betacup community of sustainable drinking enthusiasts.    

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