Paper vs plastic: the take-away coffee debate

Melbourne-based strategic designers Thick teamed up with KeepCup to answer a lot of the unearthed questions floating around: Are reusable cups really better? What about compostable cups? Isn’t paper better for the earth?Eventually, after countless co-creation and workshop sessions with users, designers, and industry professionals, the team came up with The Paper vs Plastic Shakedown, pitting KeepCup head-to-head with disposable cups in a clean, interactive, user-friendly interface that would clarify urban myths about paper production, recycling, and waste management.

You’ve probably heard of KeepCup. It’s the eco-cup that has become a sustainable yet stylish solution to coffee on the go. KeepCup’s owners, siblings Abi and Jamie Forsyth, are passionate about reducing waste. As cafe owners they were exposed first-hand to the number of take-away coffee cups being thrown in the bin. Ergo, KeepCup. Fast forward four years–today they’re shipping to 32 countries and have offices in Australia, the UK, and the US. These days, it’s rare to not spot a KeepCup everywhere you look, and that’s great, the eco-cup has proven to be a loved addition to the lifestyles of coffee-lovers, and best of all, people actually use it. That’s all fine and dandy, however there was a catch. Despite the handfuls of KeepCuppers who use the eco-cup because it’s “good for the environment”, as irony would have it, when asked how the cup actually makes an environmental impact, the majority of these users were at a loss. Even more concerning was the fact that a lot of urban myths surrounding paper and plastic were being let to be indulged. Something had to be done. Someone had to school the masses. Melbourne-based strategic designers Thick teamed up with KeepCup to answer a lot of the unearthed questions floating around: Are reusable cups really better? What about compostable cups? Isn’t paper better for the earth?

Eventually, after countless co-creation and workshop sessions with users, designers, and industry professionals, the team came up with The Paper vs Plastic Shakedown, pitting KeepCup head-to-head with disposable cups in a clean, interactive, user-friendly interface that would clarify urban myths about paper production, recycling, and waste management. On The Paper vs Plastic Shakedown mini-site, users are taken through a series of questions that they could explore and share, eventually arriving at a call to action to “join the reuse revolution”. Facts can be tedious, and often get lost in translation, so creating an avenue where facts can be intuitively absorbed and used in conversation is the first step to creating impact.