The Red Solo Cup Is (Finally) Getting a Sustainable Makeover

updated Nov 7, 2019
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There’s a very good chance you’ve probably had a drink or two out of a red plastic Solo cup sometime in your life. It’s a classic staple of beer pong and at house parties all around the country. But even if the cup symbolizes a good time to you, it’s also important to recognize that this single-use plastic isn’t exactly great for the environment. And in the interest of sustainability, reports Packaging Digest, companies have searched for a replacement for the iconic cup.

In the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of conversation about reducing plastic shopping bags and plastic straws, but that’s just the beginning. People and organizations are exploring all the different ways that we can remove plastics from everyday use. The latest to come into focus are single-use plastic drinking cups, like the kind of beverages served at sporting events and parties.

The Ball Corporation — as in Ball jars — has come out with an aluminum 20-ounce drinking cup. The cups, which are reportedly lightweight, durable, and cool to the touch, have been in use at Colorado University football games since the beginning of the year, part of the college’s plan to become plastic-free at sporting events by next year. 

The cup, like aluminum cans, is easily recyclable without the materials losing value. But the cups will also be able to be printed with logos and branding, making them something that people might even want to keep and reuse. 

The company’s research showed that 67% of U.S. consumers would go to a venue more often if they had aluminum cups and that 78% expect beverage brands to use environmentally friendly containers in the next five years. Which means that we’ll need a lot more solutions for those plastic cups in the coming years.

While the current line for the football stadium is a special partnership, Ball plans to work on getting the cup to a place where it would sell commercially for a similar price as other sustainable cup options, as well as offering it in various sizes.