What College Taught Me About Solo Cups

Red Solo cups and parties go together like… vodka and orange juice? Rum and coke? Twenty cups of beer and a ping pong ball? You catch my drift.

We’ve associated these plastic cups with alcohol for years now. So much so that most of us assume the lines on the cups are for portioning liquor, wine, and beer.

But as it turns out, most of us just have booze on the brain. Blame it on the alcohol, right?

What College Taught Me About Solo Cups

First, I’d like to start by saying there’s technically no wrong way to use a Solo cup. However, there are admittedly less-kid-friendly ways to use them, most of which I practiced during my undergrad years.

The three lines of a classic Solo cup are at the 1 oz, 5 oz, and 12 oz marks. So, intentional or not, they do make great alcohol portion guides.

1 oz, for example, is just .5 oz away from a standard shot of liquor. 5 oz is a typical serving size of wine, and 12 oz is a standard serving of beer.

But if the thought of drinking another jägerbomb makes you want to throw up, fear not. Your Solo cup days are not necessarily behind you.

The (Actual) Purpose Of Solo Cup Lines

So, you’ve grown out of your college rager days. Maybe you have kiddos of your own. Eventually, when they’re of age, you might be able to own them at a game of beer pong.

But for now, there are lots of other ways to use these handy two-in-one cups and measuring devices. (None of which involve fishing a dusty ping pong ball out of warm Natty Lite.)

According to Solo, the 1 oz line can be used to, say, pour the perfect portion of mouthwash. Or add just the right amount of chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk.

The 5 oz line is for things like portioning cereal, trail mix, or juice. (You know, things that don’t make your head feel like it’s going to explode the next day.)

Finally, you can use the 12 oz line at the top of the Solo cup to measure your water intake! Five Solo cups full of water equals how much water the experts recommend you drink per day.

Solo’s Intentional Design

And get this, when Robert Hulseman invented the red Solo cup in the 1970s, he was not thinking of the aerodynamics of Flip Cup (shocking, I know).

“Those extra lines keep your fingers from slipping while holding the cup,” Margo Burrage, director of Solo Cup Co.’s parent company, told Politifact. “They were a quite purposeful part of the design.”

So, whether you use these cups’ lines for shots, cereal, or a no-slip grip, I’d say Solo Cups’ intentional design is one we all can enjoy. Bottoms up!


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