Saturday, 2 October 2010

What A Waste: Coffee Machine Designed For Paper Cups Only

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

We often talk about how good design can improve the world, but one can also see many cases where designers and companies actually conspire to make it worse. A good example is the new in-room coffee system in the Sheraton Hotel where I am staying for a conference. I get up very early to put together the TreeHugger newsletter (wot, you don't read it? Sign up here!) and need my coffee, and I also try to avoid disposable cups. I noticed yesterday that they only had paper cups in the room and borrowed a ceramic one from a meeting room, but they have in fact redesigned the coffee maker so that there is no carafe, you have to make it in the paper cup!

Since it is a 12 oz cup and my ceramic cup is half that, I have to make it in the paper cup and then pour it into the ceramic. Of course when I go to refill, the coffee is cold because there is no heater.

Sheraton makes no claims to being green on their website; other Starwood hotels do, and it appears that this machine was designed for Starwoods and Starbucks, who should be ashamed of themselves.

I suppose it is convenient to make coffee right in the paper cup. But there is price for convenience and a message it delivers to the guest: We don't care... read full story on

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