STARTSOME: beginning of a journey
Quppa has not always been Quppa and has already gone through several stages in the design process. Olivier Hendrickx attended the postgraduate course Innovative Entrepreneurship for Engineers at KU Leuven in academic year 2018-2019. A major frustration of Olivier, and many others, were the disposable cups he used every morning for his daily coffee. Of course, the most obvious solution to his annoyance was to bring his own reusable cup to the coffee shop. Yet he found that this was not the ideal system. You have to carry your own reusable cup in your backpack all day, you have to wash it yourself, and it's easy to forget. All these annoyances made the reusable cup not an ideal alternative for his daily disposable cup. As an innovation project, he chose to develop the ideal alternative to this disposable cup, this project was named STARTSOME.
STARTSOME, was da?
STARTSOME provided reusable cups as a service to coffee bars. Coffee shop customers could download the STARTSOME app and by scanning a QR code, they linked the cup to their account. This allowed the app to know that the user had to return a cup before they could borrow a new one. Each time you used the STARTSOME cup, you saved points, which gave you all kinds of cool rewards in Leuven (free dinner, free beer, etc.). The point system made using STARTSOME a fun experience. You got free stuff, while doing something good for our planet. You didn't get in at STARTSOME via the app, but by paying the barista a one-off sum of three euros. From then on, you could return the cup to your coffee shop and borrow it an infinite number of times. You never had to pay for a renewal of your membership.
Olivier was able to convince several coffee bars to join the system in one year's time, and built up a small customer base. The project got a mention on the site of Leuven 2030, to be read here.
STARTSOME remains a learning platform
STARTSOME was a first step towards a circular system of coffee cups in Leuven, where the sustainable alternative gives as much or more comfort as a disposable cup. When Olivier graduated in 2019, he decided to pass the project on to the Leuven student cooperative CORE. They carry out several projects each year around rational energy use and the circular economy. Through this transfer, STARTSOME could be further developed, and serve as a learning platform for other students. You can read the story of STARTSOME at CORE in the following blog post.
Did you know that every week in Leuven more than 60,000 disposable cups that cannot be recycled end up in the rubbish bins?