- Whether it’s a party or just the demands of everyday life, there are times when disposable drinkware is indispensable. But which cups and glasses are the best choices?
- We’ve chosen the best disposable drinkware for your budget, the environment, and your hot and cold beverages.
Have you ever opened the kitchen cabinet, only to find there are no clean glasses or cups to be found? Or, been given the responsibility for planning a party on a budget, a picnic for a hike, or late-night supper on the beach? These are the times when disposable drinkware is your best option.
My very "favorite" moment happened at about 10 p.m. one night when my then-teenage son casually mentioned he had volunteered me to provide drinks for his school’s chorus program practice the next day. "Mom, I said you would bring hot chocolate for 50." Where would I have been without disposable coffee cups and a really big insulated dispenser?
Through the years there have been many occasions where disposable cups and glasses saved the day for me. While no disposable product is really great for the environment because most add to the huge solid waste disposal problem, disposable drinkware is convenient and portable, eliminates the need to hand-wash glasses for hours, portable, and can even add a festive flair to an event.
As part of my research, I recently put together an anniversary celebration with disposable dinnerware, silverware, and drinkware. I scoured the internet and party supply stores to find the best prices, quality, and a cohesive look for the event. Using disposables was easier on the budget than renting everything for the meal, made the clean-up very simple, and was quite attractive. There are so many choices available, you can find just about any look you desire.
Here is the best disposable drinkware you can buy:
- Best disposable cup on a budget: Hefty Disposable Cups
- Best disposable drinkware for the environment: Repurpose Compostable Cold Cups
- Best disposable coffee cup: Avant Grub Disposable Coffee Cups and Lids
- Best disposable cold drink glass: Munfix Gold-Rimmed Plastic Cups
- Best disposable champagne flute: Precisely Plastic Champagne Flutes
The best disposable cup on a budget
For any casual gathering, Hefty Disposable Cups are still the easiest on a budget.
Red party cups may be a cliché, but you can’t beat Hefty Disposable Cups for cold drinks when you’re working with a tight budget for a casual gathering. Surprisingly sturdy, they will hold up well for many hours of refreshment.
The cups have ridges that provide a good grip, come in several colors, and are offered in both 16- and 18-ounce sizes. While they are not recyclable in most home pick-up, they can be recycled in some commercial centers.
Clearly best for cold or room temperature beverages, they don’t hold up well for coffee or hot chocolate. And don’t even try them in the microwave unless you want a highly-distorted mess.
I always provide a permanent marker on the drink station so that guests can add their names to them — this helps identify who’s cup is who’s and cut down on cup usage (each guest can drink out of the same cup). The cups are also great for holding candy, popcorn, or making "gift bags" to take home.
Pros: Available in several sizes and colors, easy to grip, made in the US
Cons: Not recyclable in all areas, doesn’t hold hot beverages
The best for the environment
Repurpose Compostable Cold Cups are made from plant-based "plastic" that will compost within 180 days.
If you prefer a sustainable option, Repurpose Compostable Cold Cups are an excellent choice. The cups are molded from polylactic acid resin — which is extracted from corn grown in the United States to form clear "plastic" cups — vegetable-based ink on the outside.
The cups are offered in both 12- and 16-ounce sizes, are BPA-free, and certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). The cups can be composted at any BPI-certified commercial recycling center. At an average cost of around $0.21 per cup, they are an affordable eco option.
The cups are more flexible than hard-plastic cups. They should only be used for cold or room temperature beverages. The cups will actually distort if left in direct sunlight or near direct heat for a period of time.
I have used these cups for Earth Day programs and my kids used them to sell lemonade at one of our yard sales. Amazon reviewers give these cups 4.4-stars and appreciated the reduced carbon-footprint of plant-based product over petroleum-based plastic cups.
Pros: Plant-based plastic cups, composts in 180 days
Cons: Not compostable in all home recycling bins, can distort in high heat
The best disposable coffee cup
With a convenient lid, the Avant Grub Disposable Coffee Cups are sturdy when on the go, compostable, and biodegradable.
Avant Grub Disposable Coffee Cups and Lids aren’t just great coffee cups, but they are another eco-friendly option. I find them to be sturdy and thick enough to protect hands from very hot coffee. The cups are lined with a plant-based starch to help with insulation. The paper cup and lids are BPI-certified as biodegradable and compostable. Each cup is printed with leaves in shades of brown if you’re looking for a theme.
More important is that the lid stays on securely thanks to a rolled rim on the cup that the lid fits over snuggly. The price is reasonable enough that I use them regularly when I have hot beverages to serve to a crowd. The company even offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
A few purchasers on Amazon commented that the cups were uncomfortable to hold if the beverage was extremely hot. I didn’t find that a problem, and with a 4.9-star rating I don’t think it deterred too many from purchasing again.
Pros: Biodegradable and compostable, tight-fitting recyclable lid, sturdy enough to be refilled several times
Cons: Some buyers report cup is uncomfortable to hold if the beverage is exceptionally hot
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