Calculating cost and environmental savings for a sustainability startup

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USEFULL, formerly Coffee Cup Collective, is a Boston based sustainability startup that has created a circular economy model for reusable coffee cups. Think bike sharing, but with stainless steel travel mugs. With my keen interest in food tech and a desire to  design for making an impact, I reached out to USEFULL's CEO, Allison Rogers. We connected, and decided to work together on building a tool for her rebranded website for users to calculate both financial and environmental savings when enrolling in the USEFULL program. I learned a great deal from working on this project, particularly in areas of managing scopeworking within technology constraints, and perhaps most importantly for myself, honing in on the parts of the UX process that I enjoy and thrive in. In this reflection, I'll be discussing all of these challenges in greater detail, and how they impacted both the project and how I view myself as a designer.


Who? What? Why?

Defining the users, the business context and the problem

USEFULL has identified three target customers that interact with their business: individual users, cafés, and corporate clients. Each of these users has an underlying desire to reduce waste in landfills. However, each of them also interacts with the business in different ways, and therefore has different needs. 

Corporate customers are USEFULL's newest customer base. These are typically medium- to large-sized offices in busy downtown areas.

Corporate clients want to offer USEFULL's services to their employees as a perk. They are happy to pay for the perk, and can put their branding on the cups for increased exposure.


Individuals are the company's end users. They are café customers who use the USEFULL app to check out and return the reusable cups. 

They primarily want to know how much of an impact their changed behavior has on the environment, and are less cost conscious than the other categories.

Cafés are the customers receiving the clean cups from USEFULL. They service the Individual customers.

Cafés are chaotic places, often small businesses with small margins. They want to make sure that any program they enter into is not excessively costly and doesn't disturb the workflow of the store. 

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