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The Compleat cup: designing to reduce waste

November 8, 2011

photo via sarcoptiform

Americans go through about a billion and a half plastic lids every year. And the average consumer has a paper cup for 16 minutes. So you can start to imagine the incredible waste that springs from the use of disposable coffee cups.

The design evolution of the plastic lid began in 1967 with the first tearable plastic lid and has actually not come that far since. Sure, there have been many variations on how we peel back that strip of plastic but the idea is still very much the same. Maybe it’s time that we give up the plastic lid and move on to something all together new.

The Compleat cup is just that, a new innovative design that gets rid of the idea of a plastic top and uses the materials in the paper cup itself. Peter Herman was looking at an empty cup one day and realized that by making origami-like folds, you could have a complete enclosure with a drinking spout, no lid necessary. He then enlisted the help of graphic designer Daren Bascome in creating the final design which looks like this:

After the cup is filled, the paper flaps fold over the open mouth. As the cup says “fill, fold, drink”. Now we just need Starbucks to pick up the idea and consumers all over the world will be making one small change towards a less plastic-filled world.

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