We often talk about how good design can improve the world, but one can also see many cases where designers and companies actually conspire to make it worse. A good example is the new in-room coffee system in the Sheraton Hotel where I am staying for a conference. I get up very early to put together the TreeHugger newsletter (wot, you don't read it? Sign up here!) and need my coffee, and I also try to avoid disposable cups. I noticed yesterday that they only had paper cups in the room and borrowed a ceramic one from a meeting room, but they have in fact redesigned the coffee maker so that there is no carafe, you have to make it in the paper cup!
Since it is a 12 oz cup and my ceramic cup is half that, I have to make it in the paper cup and then pour it into the ceramic. Of course when I go to refill, the coffee is cold because there is no heater.
Sheraton makes no claims to being green on their website; other Starwood hotels do, and it appears that this machine was designed for Starwoods and Starbucks, who should be ashamed of themselves.
I suppose it is convenient to make coffee right in the paper cup. But there is price for convenience and a message it delivers to the guest: We don't care.
Have you seen any other examples of design for waste, so-called "improvements" that just cry out for criticism? Let us know in comments here or it tips.
More on Starbucks and Caring for the Environment:
Interview: Tony Gale, Corporate Architect at Starbucks
Minimalist Starbucks Store Notable For What It Leaves Out Rather Than What it puts in