A Simple Cup

April 22nd, 2009 | BY JASON SAFIR

Visualizing the impact a simple cup can have on our environment

According to sustainabilityissexy.com, over 6.5 million trees are consumed each year to produce the 16 billion disposable coffee cups that are being thrown away out into landfills. For about every 50,000 paper coffee cups produced, a tree is destroyed.

A Simple Cup visualizes the impact disposable coffee cups have on our environment by simulating a real-time growing forest on a web site every time a mug of coffee is placed onto a networked coffee cup coaster. The interactive visualization encourages coffee drinkers to drink out of their coffee mugs by rewarding them with saved trees and energy onto a virtual ecosystem (that may be accessed globally online) every time they don’t drink out of disposable paper cups when they have a cup of coffee. Hypothetically, if a significant amount of coffee drinkers had one of these networked mug coasters next to their desks, they would be able to each contribute and collectively grow this forest together, visualizing how much natural resources have been saved over time.

The objective of A Simple Cup is to raise awareness over the impact disposable coffee cup production has on our environment’s natural resources. The project does this by encouraging coffee drinkers to stop drinking coffee out of disposable cups and instead make a valuable contribution to our environment. On the web site’s visualization, one mug of coffee is equivalent to 50,000 paper cups, which claims the life of about one pine tree. In addition to visualizing trees, the butterflies in the forest each represent one home that could be potentially powered in a year.

1 TREE = 50,000 PAPER CUPS