ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Jason Safir

A Simple Cup

Measuring the impact a re-usable coffee mug can have on our environment.

Mainstreaming Information,Networked Objects

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

Blooming Data measures the impact disposable paper coffee cups have on our environment by simulating a 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 on a web site) every time they don’t use disposable paper cups when they have a cup of coffee. The user can choose what kind of trees they would like to bloom into the ecosystem by having the option to place their mug of coffee onto one of three networked coffee coasters embedded onto the interface’s coffee table.

The objective of Blooming Data is to raise awareness over the impact disposable paper coffee cup production has on our environment’s natural resources. The project encourages coffee drinkers to stop drinking coffee out of disposable paper 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 our environment. In addition to visualizing trees, each butterfly born in the forest represents one home that potentially could have been power in a year. The visualizations legend was drawn and influenced by the shocking statistics projected on and

The size and growth of the ecosystem, and the natural resources it contains, is determined by the amount of paper cups that have been saved over time. The size of the forest is infinite. Once a forest is too large for the web browser’s canvas, it forms as a planet in the web interface and a new forest blooms.

Please refer to my presentation on 'Data Details' which may be retrieved from the project's URL.

Everybody. The focus is on paper coffee cups for this project, but it also can apply to all beverages we consume out of disposable paper cups. The impact is significant.

Please refer to my slide presentation on 'Materials and Building'.