Used for decades at family picnics, beach parties and beer pong games, the familiar red plastic SOLO cup might be headed for extinction thanks to a sleek, aluminum alternative that is endlessly reusable.
Founded by Leo Hulseman in 1936, the SOLO Cup Co. is facing some fierce competition that is promising to be better for the environment — a reusable, aluminum cup created by Ball Corp., the same company behind the beacon of sustainability that is the mason jar.
The aluminum cups were recently introduced to some colleges and will soon be tested in other venues. The cups should be available for retail by 2021, John Hayes, CEO of Ball Corp., told Bloomberg. When they do hit the market, expect to pay 25 cents per reusable cup, versus an average 17 cents per disposable SOLO cup.
“The aluminum cup is a game-changer for the industry,” Sebastian Siethoff, Ball Corp.’s general manager, told Packaging Digest. “We hope that our customers and consumers view the aluminum cup as a sustainable and easily recyclable alternative to plastic cups, which are currently a mainstay of stadiums, restaurants and beaches and often end up in the trash or on the ground.”
As more and more consumers ditch plastic to reduce their carbon footprint, aluminum continues to be a popular choice for cups and cans. Aluminum cans are considered the most sustainable beverage package and are forever recyclable; the average can contains 70 percent recycled metal.
Ball Corp. has done its homework and found that 67 percent of U.S. consumers would visit a venue offering aluminum cups more frequently, and they are willing to pay the extra cost for reusable cups.
“We think they’re willing to make that choice,” Hayes told Bloomberg. “They know we’ve polluted our world, and they want to do something about it.”
Ball Corp. said the cups will be produced in different sizes and can be personalized with designs, logos and more, further enticing consumers to make the switch.
Image via Ball Corp.