As consumers become more conscientious of what they buy and use, they are also paying more efforts to reduce consumption of plastics. A gazillion eco-friendly products have been launched by brands and shops, and everyone now owns at least one eco bag, eco cup or their own utensils in order to do more for our planet. However, an online survey from Pollster indicated that only 24.5% of the people are actually carrying their own utensils around and using them, while 27.0% of the people responded with “I’ve bought them but rarely use them”. Moreover, even the ones who actually use these eco-friendly products could have bought more than one set to accommodate different scenarios. In fact, such overconsumption is the main reason causing eco-friendly products to defy their purpose.
“How can we make an eco-friendly product that actually increases its usage and changes the users’ habits?” This was the underlying concept to the pioneering FLYTTA DESIGN. Only entering its third year, FLYTTA has already launched two valued products including BAGOROLL eco bag and SKUZEE cup lid. Besides winning the Red Dot Design Award and the Golden Pin Design Award, FLYTTA has also performed remarkably well on crowdfunding sites.
Giving Existing Products a Revamped “Now” Look
Eco cups have always been some of the market’s hottest products. Every eco cup strives to become the most useful of its kind; some replace disposable straws while others are updated materials, these impressive products often lead consumers to make various redundant purchases. Alternatively, FLYTTA sees sustainability as a way of innovating without increasing or leading to excessive purchases. And this is exactly what led them to create SKUZEE cup lids.
Designer Hung-Yu Hsieh stated that, “Everyone has so many cups and jars at home so we wanted to see whether we could make something that gives a new purchase to these containers.”
SKUZEE reusable lid is a lid that could be used on almost every kind of container, allowing every empty bottle or jar to be easily turned into a to-go cup. To conform to the size of every cup, many efforts were spent on adjusting the size of its opening, curves, and size during the design phase. It also comes along with two additional twist rings, and its silicone material allows for greater size flexibility as well as spill-proof when switching between different cup sizes.
On top of being spill-proof, it has to be easy to pour. Therefore, a unique valve lock was installed within the lid that allows convenient pouring when the lid is open and clamps the cup shut on all sides when it is closed. The rigidity of the stop valve plays a key role; contents may spill if it is too soft but opening the lid would be impossible if it is too rigid. After testing the rigidity of numerous materials, food-grade silicone was chosen for its pressure-resistant, bouncy, and high temperature resistant qualities. Finally, various rigidity tests were performed starting from 60% to 80%, and it was finally settled at a precise 90%, allowing SKUZEE to give new life to empty bottles and jars.
Using Integrated Functions that Cater to Various Scenarios to Boost Usage
For products targeting being environmentally friendly as a selling point, by taking environmental costs associated with product manufacturing, the key to being eco-friendly is to increase product use. To increase the frequency of use, the design team has meticulously taken all scenarios involving beverages into consideration while optimizing SKUZEE. Relying on the flexible silicone exterior, SKUZEE is infused with tea infuser, juicer, and chilling functions while the team is working on developing its hand-dripped coffee function. Not only are the modules easily interchangeable, but they have all been precisely designed, making washing them a breeze. SKUZEE also carefully balances beauty with functionality, making them more convenient and more useful.
This concept is also reflected in their other product, eco bag BAGOROLL. Founded on the idea of a slap bracelet, the bag can be automatically rolled and easily stored away. What a typical user’s daily life may be like was considered while designing the bag: after grabbing a hot coffee in the morning, the user may use the detachable slap bracelet within the bag as a cup sleeve; when the user enjoys a sandwich for lunch, its water and oil-proof body may work as a table mat while hidden utensils will also come in handy. When a user wishes to stop by the supermarket for groceries or dinner after work, the foil lining within BAGOROLL can either keep the goods insulated until the user gets home. Its hidden magnetic handles also allow the user to stick it at any convenient location for easy grab-n-go.
For many people, reducing the consumption of plastics is fairly troublesome and requires multiple bento boxes, bags, and cups. A product’s true value in going green can only be fulfilled by simulating users’ needs and integrating multiple functions, thereby sending the message “use what you buy” to the consumers.
Being Eco-friendly Right Down to the Materials and Manufacturing Processes
Of course, when it comes to sustainability, material is also an important factor. BAGOROLL is made from Tyvek®, a compound fiber from American chemical fiber leader, DuPont. It is paper-like yet waterproof and durable, can be 100% recycled and reused, and if burnt, only steam and carbon dioxide will be generated, making it a highly sustainable material. Moreover, by utilizing the characteristics of various materials during production, SKUZEE uses mostly food-grade, nontoxic silicones and no toxic plastics are used during its production process.
In terms of material sustainability, the materials’ characteristics, recycling methods and environmental costs all need to be thoroughly considered. Not all plastics are equally bad, but rather, a designer should be familiar with the traits and production processes of all materials during the design phase. In the case SKUZEE, the flexible treatment of both hard and soft materials is enabled by FLYTTA’s investor, renowned components and materials firm, Chang Yang Material Corp. Not only does Chang Yang offer strong support to the largest shoe OEM for Nike and Adidas, it has also achieved stellar results in researching and developing innovative materials including thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU).
With such strong support, FLYTTA is able to achieve high levels of control over module designs and production processes. In consideration of design patents, all parts are made by different factories. “Products currently developed by our team are made in a one-stop-shop process and are all made in Taiwan. We look for quality right down to the smallest details, so it took us a while to search for factories. We begin by evaluating a factory’s finished products. Even though they are all plastic factories, each factory would still specialize in different techniques and materials. And since we are asking for food-grade materials, we have set certain bars to the overall production management,” said Brand Director Lung-Hsun Song.
In terms of overall design and product positioning, FLYTTA caters to the habits and aesthetics of European and American consumers on top of Taiwanese ones. This sets them apart from the domestic market and prompted them to perform well on American crowdfunding sites. FLYTTA’s commitment to details and to researching consumer behaviors has translated “users’ habits” to functionality, which is then incorporated into their design concepts, making the finished products all the more useful. The design team also hopes to inspire more like-minded brands in being sustainable in practice.
“We hope to see more users and partners to join us in sustainability,” said Lung-Hsun Song.