Take a Swig to start saving the planet

Designer Blake Winterbottom and his Swig cup… “If I can stop people buying single-use cups, that feels good and I can make a difference in that way.” Photo by Kathryn Vukovljak

COFFEE lover and local designer Blake Winterbottom has created a spill-free, reusable coffee cup called Swig – and his 40-day Kickstarter campaign to help him bring it to the Canberra market smashed its $10,000 goal in 51 hours.

The campaign is still running and Blake, 28, says he’s been blown away by the support and amount of interest in the cup.

“All the work and research really pays off when you can see that people are happy with the design – it’s simple, fresh and different,” he says.

Blake says he came up with the design after a friend showed him first-hand the amount of plastic waste dumped on Australian beaches.

“We were at Airlie Beach and my friend Ben Reid took me out on a boat to some of the more remote beaches and they were covered in plastic,” he says.

“I’d thought of it as a problem that was bigger than me, but he educated me a bit more about it and suggested kindly that I was in a position, with my design background, to make a difference and create products that could change how people act and buy things.”

UC industrial design graduate, Blake, says he liked the idea of reusable coffee cups until he got one.

“From a design point of view I found they were easily compromised if one little part broke,” he says.

“There’s a lot of good things about them but I wanted to see if I could come up with something better.”

After carrying out market research, Blake came up with a simple design in two sizes using silicon rubber, which is easy to clean and doesn’t absorb odours, and a glass insert that gives a clean taste. He says the silicon also protects the glass, provides grip and the lid creates a strong seal that doesn’t leak.

Blake graduated from UC in 2013 and moved to WA to work for an industrial design company, where he met his Swig business partner Mitchell Lang, who works on the marketing side of the company.

Blake and Mitchell ran a Kickstarter in 2017 to successfully launch an ice tray design called the Ice Bandit, which is so far available in Texas.

“If I can stop people buying single-use cups, that feels good and I can make a difference in that way,” he says.

“Design is good but if it’s not fulfilling a purpose it’s pointless.”

Blake says the Swig cups will be available in Two Before Ten in early 2019.

More information here, and support Blake’s Kickstarter campaign here.

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