Product | User Experience

Zip Coffee Maker

How can a coffee maker both inspire and maintain sustainable production practices?

In the senior industrial design studio, ID400, at NC State, our class was sponsored by Eastman Chemical to create a product using their sustainable recycled plastic material, Tritan Renew. Eastman's end goal for our sponsored studio was to use our design concepts to show others how well-designed products made sustainably can help companies, consumers, & the environment. Having been given categories of products to choose from by Eastman, I chose coffee makers because of the product opportunity I envisioned.

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At the start of my project, my main question was : "Why would someone  use a coffee maker made from Tritan Renew?" While some parts of the coffee industry are oversaturated with products, a new market space has been growing to accommodate for non-electric travel coffee makers. Through extensive research of existing products as well as a new market space growing within the travel/camping industries, I identified a need for a coffee maker that travels easily and works well in outdoor environments. After refining the target audience, identifying why they would purchase a travel coffee maker, and exploring all of the specific user needs for such a product, I designed and tested a number of different digital and physical prototypes. Within the final iterations, I 3d printed my models and envisioned how they would work within a retail context.

At the end of my project, I created "Zip" as a final solution. The coffee maker is made almost entirely out of Tritan Renew and the limited number of pieces are easily recyclable and replaceable. It allows for campers and hikers to not only purchase a product that is manufactured and recycled more sustainably, but also enjoy a quicker, cleaner, and easier coffee making experience. Eastman Chemical, the sponsor of this studio project, selected my work to be one of their featured product examples that they use when introducing Tritan Renew as a material choice for other businesses. My work was also featured in the NC State College of Design website under the article, "Sustainability by Design."

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