Hurray, We’re Going to See More Reusable Aluminium Cups Soon

Red solo cups are so iconic and you can find it almost everywhere, especially at places such as concerts or games. Yes, they’re convenient because people can just throw them away, but they’re definitely not for the environment. That might change, since we’re going to see a lot more reusable aluminium cups pioneered by Ball (the infamous jar manufacturer).

Ball’s metal cup is sturdy, lightweight, durable and cool to the touch, giving consumers a good kind of different drinking experience. According to Ball’s research, 67% of U.S. consumers said that they will visit a venue more often if they use aluminium cups instead of plastic cups. 78% wanted more beverage brands to use environmentally friendly containers in the next five years.

Ball’s general manager Sebastian Siethoff said, “The aluminium cup is a game-changer for the industry. We hope that our customers and consumers view the aluminium 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.”

He continued, “It is also a great solution for bars or breweries that want a non-breakable substitute for their current barware. In the future, we expect to expand adoption of the aluminium cups at bars, breweries and retail locations. We also expect to introduce additional sizes to complete our portfolio in the future based on market demand.”

John A. Hayes, Ball’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, stated, “As our customers and consumers increasingly seek sustainable beverage packaging options, the launch of the aluminium cup is a significant moment for our company.”

Testing the waters

On September, Ball Corp. announced that they were introducing the recyclable 20-oz (around 550ml) aluminium cup to football fans during the Colorado University (CU) home opener at Folsom Field when the Buffalos play the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

CU Athletic Director Rick George said, “As an Athletic Department and university, we are proud of all we have done thus far and will continue to do in reducing our carbon footprint. We are thrilled to partner with Ball on this important project. Being conscious of the environment is not only the right thing to do, it sets an example for our fans and everyone else watching that they should make sustainable choices, too.”

Hopefully, will significantly reduce plastic use in the stadium this season. Other than that, Ball and CU hoped that these cups would inspire fans and other people to recycle as well as bring more fans to the games.

It’s also a major step for the university because they aim to be plastic-free in its sports venues by 2020. CU begun sustainable practices in 2008, making the university the first major college sports program to implement a zero waste program in all gameday venues.

Earlier this year, CU Athletics became the first university in the nation to sign the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, joining other adopters such as the New York Yankees, NBA and Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. This agreement requires those groups to reduce climate impact and promote responsible as well as sustainable consumption.

Hayes stated, “Ball and CU have a long history together, and we’re proud to team up with them to pioneer sustainable solutions in our industries,”

“It is our responsibility as the leader in aluminium beverage packaging to continuously innovate and provide solutions for our customers. We’re excited to bring the aluminium cup to market and expand the product line next year and beyond,”

“With CU’s commitment to sustainability, the university is the ideal partner for piloting our new aluminium cup at the collegiate level. Sports fans are becoming more mindful about the impact their everyday choices have on the environment, and we’re excited to offer them the opportunity to enjoy their favorite beverage at the game in our infinitely recyclable aluminium cup.”

There’s no fixed price for the cups, but Ball currently offers them at a flat pilot price to select pilot customers. Siethoff said, “True commercial pricing is yet to be confirmed, but we expect it to be competitive with other sustainable cup options,”

“Pilot customers are making a conscious decision to adopt a more sustainable beverage container for their consumers. Just like aluminium beverage cans, which have a global recycling rate of 69%, aluminium cups are easily recycled while the material retains its value throughout the process. Ball hopes this will lead to high aluminium cup recycling rates from both consumers and customers.”

Although the cups’ first appearance were in a football game, Ball is open to all kinds of opportunities. These cups are customizable, so all brands can put their logos and graphics on the cups without compromising recyclability.

What about recycling?

Separate recycling bins (you can see there's a bin just for aluminium cans) found in Japan. Photo by Gilgongo Wikimedia commons
Separate recycling bins (you can see there’s a bin just for aluminium cans) found in Japan. Photo by Gilgongo Wikimedia commons

Both plastic and aluminium are recyclable. So how do the aluminium cups are different from the plastic? For now, that’s Ball’s homework because they haven’t completed a lifecycle assessment of the aluminium cup versus the plastic cup.

Siethoff stated, “Lifecycle assessment results vary depending on how you run the analysis. When you consider the entire lifecycle of aluminium and cans’ high recycling rates, aluminium better enables circularity and is more sustainable than plastic.”

Not all people are the same, and the company realizes that fact. Ball expects that even though aluminium cups are highly recyclable, some consumers won’t be doing that. However, Siethoff said that the cups’ lightweight, sturdy nature and eye-catching graphics would make some consumers want to keep or reuse the cups.

For now, Ball is going to test the waters and assess the things they need until all major venues, stadiums, and events use these reusable, sustainable, and eco friendly cups instead of plastic. Maybe after this initiative, other companies will follow suit and there will be other types of aluminium or reusable cups used by major venues or events around you.

Do you think this aluminium cup initiative works? Or do you have a better solution to reduce the use of plastic cups in large events? Do tell us your opinion in the comments.



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