Two cousins and Cupple
Amanda and I are cousins. A few years ago we started spending time together as we found ourselves living close to each other. The idea of Cupple came from our motivation to fix a problem that was niggling us. We were both carrying a bottle of water and an empty reusable cup “just in case” we wanted a cup of tea or coffee while we were in the car, on the train on our way to work, the shops, the gym, a dog walk. Although bulky and inconvenient we were not prepared to give in! We realised we would rather go thirsty than bow to the convenience of the paper cup and plastic bottle of water.
Then came the litter. We started to notice how much waste and litter lined the roads around where we live, and how the bins always seemed to be full to overflowing. And it was mainly paper coffee cups or plastic drinks bottles, so this problem wasn’t ours alone – everyone was finding it more convenient to use the single-use, throw-away cups and plastic bottles than to take their own out each day.
We know it is possible to change our own and other people’s attitude and behaviour. Although we are all creatures of habit, we can change, whether it’s by stick or carrot! The simple plastic carrier bag is the most recent example of changing attitudes. With enough media attention and education, a plastic-bag tax and stylish shopping bag alternatives, the majority of people have made the conscious choice to bring their own to the shops. And now not just supermarkets but almost all retailers have looked and switched their own bag offering at checkouts.
We want the same to happen at take-away food and drink retailers. There are many reusable cups and bottles out there, but unless there is a ‘stick’ such as the Latte-Levy, change will continue to be very slow. Some countries have introduced taxes for single use items and the UK is making the right noises but there is still a long way to go.
In the meantime, we wanted to find a convenient, combined, simple and stylish replacement to the most commonly discarded single-use items.
We spent a while working out how we could get a cup and bottle into one. It was really important to us that the Cupple cup was a direct replacement to the (plastic-lined) paper cups that are so widely discarded but used by all food and drink retailers. The cup needed to be insulated and have a lid. It wasn’t as straight forward as we thought and we realised early on that we would need a product design team, and Aetha Design, a young team on the south coast of England, knew exactly what to do. Cupple was born. The design is a twist together water bottle and insulated cup (with lid) in one product.
Cup + Bottle = Cupple ®
This all happened in 2019: we were all on the move, commuting, flying, driving, shopping, holidaying, travelling. People were grabbing teas and coffees and bottles of water wherever they went. And then as we invested our savings into getting Cupple designed and the prototypes made and approved, Covid-19 struck.
There are so many huge problems in the world right now, and the litter problem is pretty low down on the list for many. But we realised that, like us, everyone else was spending less time travelling across countries, counties and cities, and more time in their homes, local shops, streets and parks. As a result, people became more aware of how and where they live: how the leaves in the trees change; how wildflowers come and go; how the sun and rain feel during our daily outings; of the gentle breeze in the air; the quietness of less traffic on the road and in the sky; and the sound of the birds. And how much better this all looks and feels when it is wild and natural, and not littered with take away boxes, drinks cups and plastic bottles.
When we come out of our second wintery lockdown, will we have a new respect for our environment?
Life after Lockdown
So, although we did stop for a bit and think about how we were going to launch our Cupple in a world that is now drinking more tea and coffee at home than ever before, we know, we all know, that once these restrictions are lifted we are all going to get back out there and travel to see all our friends, family, distant lands, beautiful cities, and stunning views that we have all missed.
Adventures are within us, and although they have been on a temporary pause, humans are curious, social, fun-seeking, life enhancing travellers. And we want Cupple to be there, making sure we can all travel, move around and live our lives creating as little waste as possible.