Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Hole in None


Hot beverages these days invariably come topped with a sippy lid, the kind with a little hole so you can walk and drink at the same time. But is this a benefit? There is a Zen Buddhist saying: When walking, just walk. I heartily agree. An adult is not a baby nursing a bottle, and should be able to wait 5 minutes to arrive at her desk, THEN drink the coffee.

The hole in the sippy lid is a spill hazard. It forces people to create hole-covering blotter pads out of folded-up napkins or risk arriving at work covered with coffee dribbles. Recently an official solution has been thoughtfully provided by Starbucks: they now produce little green plastic stirrers/plugs to fit the hole, topped with a jaunty trademark mermaid. Mightn't it be better to just go back to offering old-style flat lids?

A heavily-promoted aspect of Starbuck's corporate identity and branding is their social responsibility, what they are doing for the environment, etc. So why come up with a solution in the form of an additional plastic item the world doesn’t really need, one that will end up in landfills or washed up on beaches, when it would be cleaner to just solve the original design problem? Lids should not have holes in the first place.

6 comments:

Jamie Lux said...

I'm going to have to think about the implications of getting rid of the hole-less lid. While i do feel like a baby nursing a bottle sometimes, it seems unlikely that this lifestyle will be changed anytime soon. Maybe the solution is in redesigning the lid so spilling will be reduced. Until then, you are going to have to pry my holed lid from my dead, cold hands.

Jamie Lux said...

I mean, getting rid of the holed lid, sorry.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with jamie lux- the lifestyle will change once people start questioning the status quo and stop thinking that it's ok to live in such a disposable world.

Starbucks should give you a discount if you bring in your own mug/travel cup- that would be environmentally responsible.

Jamie Lux said...

That's true, i think it is good to question the status quo, anonymous, though i was referring to my own selfish and wasteful lifestyle. That is a good idea about the discounts for bringing mugs. Though the consumer is a tough cookie. They will usually take the path of least resistance and will pay a little extra for the "right" to walk and drink and dispose, unless they are presented with an idea that is easier and more convenient. I think the mug idea is on the right track though. Well played.

Anonymous said...

Plastics in this context is just a lazy waste. Although I like the hole in the lid because it makes the coffee hold on a little longer a cozy day in the fall. Best compromise would be to make everything in paper and add just a nano-ish thin layer of biodegradable plastic as a laminate on the inside.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and regarding that trophy-stick I really can't comment on that since I'm in a part of the Old World where Starbucks is no where to be seen. But I'm of to NYC shortly so I guess that I'll practice stick-throwing as soon as I'm a lucky Starbucker.