Spill Saver

Lukas, Paul
January 2005
Fast Company;Jan2005, Issue 90, p27
This article provides information on the development of the Travel Plus disposable coffee-cup reclosable lid from Solo Cup Co. You are walking along with a cup of take-out coffee when someone bumps into you, or you stumble ever so slightly over a sidewalk crack. And now there is coffee stain on your shirt. Stephen A. Smith feels your pain. And as director of product development at Solo Cup Co., he has done something about it. Hence, the Traveler Plus, a disposable coffee-cup lid with a reclosable opening. Easily deplores via a flick of the index finger, it is an elegant and satisfying solution to the problem of on-the-go spills. The idea came during a flight Smith took with a colleague in 2000. One of them had a cup, and they started discussing how great a reclosable lid would be. They had no idea how to do it. Smith led a team of engineers that tackled the problem. It required a lot of work to ensure that it was not only functional but also manufacturable. The finished product, launched in the U.S. in mid-2003, sells for twice the price of Solo's standard lids. Smith, who has worked in package design for 25 years, said that nobody thinks about how much effort and creativity go into a cup or lid. Until, perhaps, now.


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