Posts tagged “disposable container”

ChittahChattah Quickies

The Solo Cup: How the disposable drinking vessel became an American party staple. [] – Hmm how did this odd red cup become the undisputed centerpiece of the American party scene? The recent redesign provides an opportunity to explore the question. I wonder, will most users even register, or appreciate, the receptacle’s new “distinctive elements?”

How did the red cup become synonymous with good times, keg draughts, and sticky-floored basements? “The history is a little sketchy,” says Kim Healy, VP of consumer business for Solo. “We know we were one of the first to introduce a party cup.” So perhaps first-mover advantage played a role, with followers clamoring to emulate Solo’s technological breakthrough? For surely the quality of the design played a part. From the beginning, this has been the Sherman tank of disposable mealware. Made of thick, molded polystyrene, the Solo party cup could be squeezed in meaty frat-guy paws, dropped to the ground by tipsy highschool cheerleaders, and mercilessly battered by Flip Cup contestants-all while maintaining shape and functionality. It was stiffer and more resilient than competitor party cups like Dixie’s. No doubt the cup’s opacity was a selling point for underage college and high-school drinkers who would prefer not to reveal exactly what they’re sipping. But why red?

Bun-Making Goes High Tech [] – In other news related to icons that represent our culture’s mass consumption, robots are checking out our buns. The aim here is to eliminate any distinctive elements, to achieve ultimate consistency at scale.

Engineers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have devised a system for inspecting breadstuffs automatically, using image-processing technology. A camera trained on the production line captures an image of each bun, and software analyzes its color to determine whether it’s over- or undercooked, then adjusts the oven accordingly. The program also checks the bun’s shape and diameter and the distribution of garnishes, like sesame seeds or a cornmeal dusting. Ovenmaker BakeTech is working to commercialize the prototype, which has been saving Flower’s buns for the past year. May you never get stuck with a unique baked good again.

Crock Addict

I’ve developed a taste for expensive yogurt.

It started as a lark a few days ago, in a natural foods store near my home, when I saw Saint Benoit Yogurt for the first time. This single-serving yogurt comes in a miniaturized stoneware crock, colored and shaped like (what I imagine to be) a traditional European crock.


I figured I’d throw down the $3.99 for a Saint Benoit once-it seemed luxurious, and worth doing for the experience.

But lo, the Palmetto Organic Grocery has just opened directly across the street from our office, and guess what they carry?

As it turns out, Saint Benoit only costs $2.49 if you return one of the used crocks. Compared to the usual $0.99 for many other organic yogurts, this price is still awfully high, but if the reusable crock and local, sustainable production are an ecological improvement over the usual disposable plastic container and cross-country transport, that’s one inducement to pony up.

The bottom line for me is sensory, though. There’s something about the “old world-like experience” of holding that little crock and hearing the spoon clink on its side that is proving to be quite seductive.

It’s a triumph of interface design.


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