• Sanjay Manival Raju

HUNU: A Collapsible Coffee Cup

The coffee culture is trending as the only ideal way to introduce caffeine into the body. Aside from the rising concern of an impending coffee bean crisis, this consumption rate poses another issue- waste generation.

It is estimated that over 50 million disposable cups are used every year and contrary to popular belief, these are not recyclable. The impervious plastic lining inside these cups send them straight to land fill as the recycling process can be quite complex. One of the steps to tackle this problem is, a reusable cup, better yet, sustainably produced, and collapsible.

HUNU, the collapsible cup made from food grade silicon and a lid made from bamboo fibers. The cup also has a heat band, resembling a sleeve and a built-in plug to avoid leaks.

Vince and Megan, the founders identified a problem, explored the existing solutions, and improvised it, for convenience. They are running a Kickstarter campaign and pledging 15 euros will get a HUNU in your pocket.

In 2018 Starbucks UK reported the use of reusable cups by 48% of their consumers. There is no statistical data suggesting the same for United States. However, going by the general behavior of coffee drinkers and their routines, I am of the understanding that the percentage who possess a reusable cup daily are less. Irrespective of the convenience factor, new adopters may show reluctance in dedicating a pocket space for a cup, for various reasons. One of them, being that phones are getting bigger. But these cups can indeed find a spot in the cubby holes of your cars.

Aside from the validation of potential consumers, this is an effective alternative for the percentage of consumers consciously using reusable cups.

We may have access to resources and a seemingly reliable waste management system. However, as HUNU describes, the product encourages a lifestyle change in the immediate interest of sustainable practices.

Once it enters the market, products like this will become a responsible trend. It will be interesting to see if Starbucks and similar chains will be majority stakeholders in reinforcing the adoption.

On that note, it is important to note the current pandemic situation. HUNU may have to wait as business are offering “contactless” services to reduce the risk of transmission. Starbucks did announce the same early this year. It may not be the right time for HUNU, but its promising enough to survive the pandemic.

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