Background Disposable packaging is emerging as a worldwide sustainability issue and a chief cause of environmental pollution. Moreover, the South Korean government recently placed a ban on disposable coffee cups for in-store customers. This study examined which design attributes of takeout cups provide a more eco-friendly design for iced and hot drinks. We also explored which design attributes raised environmental awareness.
Methods After selecting predominant design attributes of sustainable takeout cups, we used conjoint analysis to figure out the weights of relative importance given to six design attributes. The study compared consumers’ preferred takeout cup design and an eco-friendly takeout cup design.
Results In response to consumers’ preferences, the best design for an eco-friendly takeout cup for iced and hot drinks is a paper cup without a lid, straw, or printed message and recycling logo. Based on this, we proposed a newly designed eco-friendly paper cup with an embossed logo instead of using an ink-printed logo for two leading coffee brands in South Korea.
Conclusions The study examined emerging design attributes that provide a more eco-friendly takeout cup design for iced and hot drinks. The results show that consumers accept inconvenience for greater environmental benefit. To reflect consumers’ preference and their choice of the most eco-friendly design attributes, we proposed a paper takeout cup with no lid, no straw, and no printed message or recycling logo as the best combination for an eco-friendly takeout cup design for both iced and hot drinks while also allowing each brand to address its own visual identity.