For some time now, the Americans have only had their eyes on the Stanley Cup. Initially, this reusable bottle is supposed to be environmentally friendly. But the constant release of new models and limited editions encourages its fans to buy more regularly, pushing them towards overconsumption which goes against the ecological qualities put forward by its manufacturer.
You may have already seen this video on TikTok, filmed in a Target store in the United States where a crowd rushes to a shelf filled with red or pink water bottles, even going so far as to jostle each other. This video, viewed nearly 30 million times in the space of a few weeks, immediately caused general confusion. But what’s so special about this bottle? At first glance, not much.
However, this bottle, the Stanley Cup, has become the new essential accessory for Americans. Seen in the hands of many stars (Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo) or influencers, this reusable bottle equipped with a straw has sparked a frenzy on social networks. Currently, the hashtag #Stanley Cups has hundreds of millions on TikTok. She has notably been at the center of numerous videos showing people unwrapping their Christmas presents.
His followers never stop praising his merits, proudly displaying their Stanley Cup collections in different colors (to match his outfit, his nail polish or his mood). Some even go so far as to add rhinestones, spill-proof caps or labels to personalize their precious Grail. There are even those who make small backpacks to carry their water bottle.
@destineemorehvibes The Rise of the Stanely Cups. Is it a collection or is it overconsumption? #stanley #stanleycup #stanleycups #stanleycupcollector #stanleycupcollection #stanleycupcolors #preppystanley #preppystanleycup #conspicousconsumption #overconsumption ♬ original sound – DestineeMoreh
This frenzy did not fail to raise some questions, particularly on the environmental side. Because this bottle, which still costs around $50, is supposed to be reusable for life.
Originally, the Stanley brand, created in 1913 by American physicist William Stanley Junior, was associated with workers and hikers. But in recent years, the cups have enjoyed great popularity on social networks, and particularly TikTok, with the rise of the #watertok community – these hydration lovers were in fact used to filming their water preparations. flavored water in their Stanley Cup – and a well-oiled marketing policy.
The Stanley Cup, the new tote bag?
This growing popularity (the company has reportedly increased its turnover tenfold since 2020, according to a CNBC article) nevertheless raises environmental concerns. Because by accumulating these reusable cups, can we really talk about sustainable purchasing? The Stanley brand states on its website that its product is made from “90% recycled stainless steel for sustainable consumption” and that a cup can last a lifetime. However, the constant release of new models and limited editions paradoxically encourages overconsumption, which is harmful to the planet.
Jessica Heiges, project director on zero waste and circularity at WSP, an environmental consulting company, contacted by Wired, emphasizes that “their impact on the environment is so great that just using them a handful of times they are much more harmful than a handful of disposable water bottles“. From this point of view, she does not hesitate to compare the bottle to the phenomenon of tote bags, its reusable bags presented as ecological alternatives to plastic bags, but which have become a real ecological problem.
According to MIT researchers, a reusable bottle must be used ten to twenty times before it has less environmental impact than a plastic bottle. She adds : “It is not possible for them to use the same bottle over and over again, and thus reach the environmental break-even point where it is more advantageous than plastic“.
There are no studies proving that using a Stanley bottle is more environmentally friendly than a plastic bottle. In 2009, the New York Times revealed that producing stainless steel bottles requires seven times more fossil fuels, emits 14 times more greenhouse gases, and requires hundreds of times more metal resources compared to plastic.