A question of sustainability - How to reduce the use of disposable cups?
Edited BY: Emma Twait
Edit Date: 2019-06-01 19:49:56


Based on the Blossoms video, the video is about how engineers think innovatively and creatively. There were lots of examples that connected with problems from daily life into real and useful products which encourage students to think differently about problems in life and think creatively on how to solve them. This PBL is about thinking creatively as engineers, finding issues from daily life and trying to solve them with inventing some prospective products. Problems regarding waste, specifically on the beaches, have been raised as huge detriments to the environment.


Develop a product that will reduce the waste caused by the consumption of disposable cups.

Problem analysis.

Principles and goals:

We are looking for a solution to minimize disposal cup waste. The product is supposed to be easy-to-produce, easy-to-use, environmentally-friendly and can be used around the world. We are also looking for ways to encourage people, especially children, to think about the environment and use the product.

Product instructions:

1. Materials must be recyclable, cheap, light, thin, flexible, tough, and have a quality design. Materials can be variable.

2. The structure and functions must fit to different cup sizes and types, will not move spontaneously, are tough and flexible, and easy to take off and put on.

Internet use:

1. Evaluating the market: conducting research and doing questionnaires.

2. Making competitions: regarding materials, the shape, the quality, the design.

3. Consulting: asking questions with experts.

4. Advertising: encourage people to use this product.

5. Collaboration with environmental organizations.

6. Requesting feedback to improve the products.


1. The skills to browse for different materials and products’ properties.

2. Organization during the process.

3. Teamwork.

4. The aim for global collaboration.

5. Progressive learning ability from revising and reflection.

6. Analyzing problems during the process and learning from our mistakes.

7. The ability to come up with a problem, explore it, and make a product which would solve it.

The assignment for the students is to find a problem in their environment and to solve it with the principles and goals that we defined above.


One possible way to reduce plastic waste is to create a band that you can wear on your wrist, but it can be placed around your cup. In this way, the band will help people remember to dispose of their cup. The band can be made of different material: rubber, clay, or velcro and cloth. Clay and velcro and cloth can mold to fit on different sized containers, so only one band is needed. 


The project can be conducted in groups of four. One student can be involved in design, one student can be involved in advertising, one student can be involved in pilot testing, and one student can be involved in reflection.

One way to monitor work progress could be to use Google Docs, where each student writes the date and what they accomplished of their task. In this way, you see if a student is not doing something on time or is not doing as much work as his or her peers.


The material can help the children learn about the transfer of temperature, as the band could block the temperature of the drink in the cup. It can also help teach children about design and how to explore working with different materials and each one's pros and cons. 


  1. Many families in Israel are going to picnic and bring a lot of disposable, plastic cups. Children and even adults may often take more than one cup during the picnic. This results in much more waste than is necessary. Our product is easy-to-use and multi-functional. It works as a stylish bracelet that can also be wrapped around any cup at any kind of event at any time. It is easy to remove and to place on the cup. Each child can have his or her own style and wear it as a bracelet every day. This helps the family keep track of whose cup is whose and makes it a fun experience for the child to have his/her “own”, unique bracelet.

  2. Based on the material used, students learn about temperature transfer and how it can be isolated. Students can also learn how to avoid materials that can melt under high temperatures. Students also learn how to make a flexible product that can mold into different sizes.

  3. This product can be produced on a mass scale quite easily, but it can also vary in design. Individuals can design their own band.

  4. The innovation aspect is simple, as many of us wear bracelets all of the time. To just change the functionality of the bracelet to also be used to reduce waste, this is a simple change. In the U.S., a similar foam sleeve exists, but it can only fit around cans and doesn’t have multiple functions. Our creation is easy-to-use and would benefit more to society. It will encourage people to think about the environment, especially at a younger age, where children could be more excited to design their own bracelet and show friends how to use it.



Question Created By: Emma Twait
Creation Date: 2019-06-01 19:45:53
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