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Eco bottle caps double as Lego blocks. Classic Lateral Thinking™ in action.

This article, first published in March 2010, has become topical again with all the discussion regarding implementing a plastic bottle tax to tackle waste and ocean pollution. With a little Lateral Thinking there could be more innovative ways to solve these challenges…

…bottle caps typically serve a humble purpose and aren’t really thought of as the most multipurpose practical invention ever — instead, they contribute to more than USD 1 billion worth of plastic waste that ends up in US landfills each year, rather than being recycled. While in the past we have seen initiatives turn them into mini indoor gardens, a new scheme called Clever Caps has redesigned them to give them extra use as Lego-style bricks after they’ve finished their life as a bottle cap.

Created by Brazil-based innovative packaging developer Clever Pack, the caps are designed initially as standard PCO 1881 finish bottle tops that provide a secure seal for beverages. However, once they’ve served their purpose as a bottle cap, the ridges on top and underneath mean that each one can be clipped onto another. They don’t need to be thrown away, or even recycled — the Clever Caps can be saved each time a bottle is finished and used to create a collection of building blocks, either as a children’s toy or as a tool for innovators to design with. The caps even work with existing brands such as Lego, offering even more possibilities for creation when they’re combined with different shapes. All of this is achieved without significantly adding to the material used to create the initial bottle cap. The video below explains more about the project:

Click the image to see Clever Caps in action on YouTube

Click the image to see Clever Caps in action on YouTube

Clever Caps offer an environmentally friendly solution to the production of bottle caps while also adding value to the objects to encourage consumers to re-use them.

This classic application of Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking techniques adds bottom-line value to not only the producer, but also to the environment.  Are there other ways packaging can be redesigned to be used after it’s served its initial purpose?

Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking workshop

Empower your people to challenge current thinking, solve problems and generate new ideas, more about the workshop: