Blurb from the author: I don't get bubble milk tea very often anymore, but every time I did that I felt slightly guilty for using plastic. I mean I recycle it, but it is probably better to avoid producing or contributing to plastic waste altogether.
While studying at the University of Queensland, Australia, Sam Loh was exposed to the country's green culture.
After studying in the country for a while, I can confidently say that their attitudes towards waste generation and management are much more sustainable than ours in Malaysia.
Inspired by what he saw there, Sam came up with the concept of developing a plastic-free reusable bubble tea cup when he returned to Malaysia.
It was a no-brainer: Bubble Tea is loved by many here, and the amount of disposable plastic waste generated by this enjoyment is increasing steadily.
He founded OneCup in late 2019, hoping to help reduce the environmental impact of our bubble tea culture not only in Malaysia, but around the world.
Just a few months after their launch, they had partnered with Tealive to make the bubble tea giant's reusable cups.
Sustainability is fashionable
With a starting price of 59.90 RM per cup you can hear the groans of the cheap Malaysians everywhere.
Yes, there are cheaper ones, but compare them to OneCup and you will notice the difference in design and even quality.
"Our cups are made from food-safe silicone and borosilicate glass," Sam told Vulcan Post. "We also use materials such as recyclable packaging boxes when shipping to avoid the use of plastic."
As sad and materialistic as it may sound, an attractive product is usually the first step in arousing consumer interest. That's why Sam made sure OneCup is stylish too.
Photo credit: OneCup
OneCup's design also addressed some other issues that he noticed with existing reusable cups on the market.
“Before we launched OneCup as a brand and solution for the first time, we realized that the reusable cups available on the market were not cups. They were mason jars. "
Although they were good alternatives for reducing single-use plastics, they were often heavy, bulky and even rejected by bubble tea shops because they did not show volume measurements. (You know, so the stores don't give you more or less bubble tea unintentionally.)
“OneCup was developed to solve all of these problems. It's light and has grooves that show the volume of 500 ml and 700 ml (most bubble tea beverage sizes), ”said Sam.
Together with the RM59.90 price tag you will receive a steel straw, a cleaning brush and a drawstring bag. If you want to give your cup a personal touch, you can get a monogram on it for an additional charge.
The cups are currently available in 3 millennial colors: Shadow Blue, Coral Pink and Sherbet Orange.
Teamwork makes the dream come true
In order for the brand to gain momentum, the small OneCup team of two, consisting of Sam and Esther, the US-based creative director, turned to the majority of bubble tea brands.
They hoped to work together, but Sam said they weren't picky because the end goal was the same – reducing single-use plastics in the bubble tea industry.
Tealive accepted this collaboration offer and has been selling reusable Tealive X OneCup cups for several months.
Bryan Loo and Sam with the strawless reusable cups on the table / Photo credit: OneCup
In addition to the main design of OneCup (as described in the previous section), there is another one that is strawless, with the toppings in an upper compartment separate from the drink.
"We were very grateful to be able to work with Tealive because they are not only the number 1 tea brand in Southeast Asia, but their cooperation would set an excellent example for all other brands and competitors," said Sam.
"We hope this is the big step to convince more bubble tea brands to use reusable products or alternatives to plastic products. If we have to do this, we will continue to try to convince other brands."
Although OneCup is not yet profitable, they are still gaining traction and have sold nearly 5,000 cups since their launch.
In the future, they want to implement innovative plans to make their cups leak-proof and available in more colors.
Bottom line: Compared to other reusable cups on the market, OneCup is definitely one of the more attractive ones I've ever seen. Not to mention that they have a USP that develops their cups especially for bubble tea. Knowing that her mug cannot be easily rejected by shops would give customers like me a certain level of security and encourage more of us to use it.
- More articles about Tealive can be found here.
Selected image source: OneCup