UX/UI Designer
Sep. 2018- Dec. 2018
Group Project
Group Members
Nicole NImeth
Lisa Groom
Sara Nejad
Man-Ping Wu

Project Overview

︎Video Prototype

︎Green To-Go is a logistics system that tackles the inconveniences associated with using and carrying around reusable cups. We are trying to find a new business form from the perspective of sustainable development.


The project came from the OPEN IDEO NextGen Cup design challenge. Our initial idea was to redesign a coffee cup using environmentally friendly materials such as aluminum, clay, and paper. However, after research, we found many coffee shops like Starbucks already have their reusable cups. But through some interviews and Google Survey, we found that currently, the utilization rate of reusable cups in Starbucks is less than 5%.


I followed a double diamond design process to define the problem, ideate, and devise a solution. Specifically, I focused on optimizing the cup reusable process.

The Challenge

  • WHAT: Reusable Cup Service 

How might we design a reusable cup service system from the perspective of sustainable development?

  • WHY: Only a small percentage of cups are successfully recycled.

Over 250 billion disposable cups are being globally on an annual basis, with a measly 1% being successfully recycled.

Given the urgency of this problem and that most disposable cups ending up in the landfill are produced by global franchise companies such as Starbucks and McDonalds, we realized how businesses could take on the responsibility to switch to reusable cups, instead of persuading and waiting for the customers to sacrifice convenience and change their behavior on a global scale.

  • WHO: Regular Coffee Drinkers

Because of the highest consumption of coffee cups, regular coffee drinkers have the most significant impact on the popularization and application of the reusable cup service.


1.1 Interview

To better understand users and prioritise features and define key performance indicators (KPIs), we held several stakeholders interviews. The interviews have four parts:

Key Findings:

1.2 Survey

We used Google Surveys to request 50-100 responses from the general public.
Here is the link of the result: Google Surveys

Key Findings:

1.3 Data Visualization

1.3.1 Starbucks & Recycling Bins in Manhattan

Key Findings:
The number of Starbucks far exceeds the number of recycling bins.

1.3.2 Disposable Cups Recycling Chain

Key Findings:
Paper is often lined with plastic and makes it almost impossible to recycle.

Pain Points


Journey Map


The Solutions:

Concept & User Flow

︎Phase 1(MVP): A circular system design + marketing strategy to integrate reusable to-go cups at Starbucks locations in NYC.

In this phase we leverage existing elements, including the abundance of Starbucks locations, their reusable cups, and their existing app, which includes online ordering and a store locator feature, to design a circular system for reusable cups to be ordered, picked up and dropped off at any Starbucks location.

︎Phase 2: Decentralized collection & delivery system

In phase two, we expand the scope of participating partners. We then partner with existing delivery and transportation networks such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and DoorDash to transport reusable cups from cup cleaning centers to local coffee shop locations.


Low-fidelity Prototype

Our primary research found that more than 60% of regular coffee drinkers use Starbucks' App every day. Thus, we decided to add our service to the existing Starbucks' App. Then we redesigned the Starbucks App(IOS).

Usability Testing

High-fidelity Prototype

Digital Prototype

Next Steps

  1. Optimizing the reward system.
  2. Exploring how many people will participate in this program.
  3. Collecting the data of how many users will return the cups.
  4. Exploring the way of cleaning cups.
  5. Refining the way of cooperating with existing delivery and transportation networks such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and DoorDash. Exploring how to transport cups from cup cleaning centers to local coffee shop locations.

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