BETTER-BEV, OR HOW TO REDUCE PLASTIC CONSUMPTION THROUGH THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Better-Bev is a project by former student of the Master in Design Management, Esteban Fernández, which has just won the award for Best Innovative Waste Management Program at the Innovation & Sustainability Awards gala organized by the Malaysian Dutch Business Council (MDBC), a private entity that provides commercial, representation and networking services, forging ties between Malaysia and the Netherlands.
The original proposal emerged in Esteban’s final Master project, in which he sought solutions to reduce the global consumption of plastic. Aware that a large amount of the pollution caused by plastic is due to the design of single-use products in the food industry, he devised a business system based on the circular economy.
After completing his studies, Esteban moved to Malaysia, where he continued to develop his proposal until he designed the reusable cup service Better-Bev. The cups are manufactured from 100% biodegradable natural fibres, with accessories such as the lid and central sleeve made from recyclable silicone. The proposed service is simple: the customer can request the cup in their usual establishment through an app and then return it, where it will be cleaned, disinfected and redistributed for reuse.
Malaysia is one of the world’s main importers of plastic, and much of the waste ends up in illegal landfill sites or crematoriums, severely affecting air quality. The Government is on a quest to find alternatives in a bid to improve citizens’ quality of life.
It was decided to transform the business model with an app-based service, which not only eliminates the extra administrative processes for the cafés, but also enables the implementation of a digital platform to collect and monitor data, as well as generate additional services such as a monthly subscription plan, discounts or offers. The service is completely free according to the realities of the Malaysian Government, except for possible loyalty plans that would impose a monthly fee.