Bubble tea, or boba tea as it is known in stateside, can’t do without straws. This beverage don’t use just any type of straws; it has to use those extra large diameter straws in order for you to suck those pearl thingy. Needless to say, the straws and the disposable cups that the delightful concoction is served in result in incredible amount of plastic waste each year. It is definitely one of the culprit in the piling plastic waste and yet, it does not seem to have a solution… until now.
Taiwanese designers Fang Shih and Mickey Wu, with support from Taiwan’s glass recycling company Spring Pool Glass, have came up with a solution called FLOAT, a non-straw glass cup for bubble tea. The design is actually pretty clever. Inside the seemingly ordinary (but sleek) glass cup is a BPA-free plastic inner cup where the magic happens. The inner cup keeps the chewy pearl (which I am never a fan of, btw) on the top level of the drinkware.
In this way, you will never need a straw to suck up those ingredient because, you can now just drink it like you would with any beverage and still have the pearls getting into your mouth. By introducing the inner cup, it also keeps the ice in the mid section of the mug and thus, making the temperature and concentration “more balanced,” according to the designers. In addition, the glass mug is made of recycled glass, making it a sustainable product.
FLOAT is simple but no less brilliant design. The only question is, will businesses adopt it and if so, how will it work out? Like, are they going to ask customer pay for the glassware every time, adding to the price of the beverage? Or will businesses create a problem to ask custom to buy the drinkware and bring it along the next time they want to buy a cup of boba tea?
If you have been going around buying bubble tea, you will know it is always serve in plastic cup and straw because, bubble tea establishments are mostly not restaurants or cafes and so, businesses can’t possibly gave away clearly more pricey receptacles like glassware to their customers, right? That said, it is a good approach that, sadly, may never see implementation.
Images: Behance (Fang Shih/Mickey Wu).