Are Solo Coffee Cups Recyclable? – Know Which Solo Cups are Safe for Our Environment

are solo coffee cups recyclable
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Yesterday, I was reading an article from and I was really worried by looking at the actual statistics about plastic coffee cups usage.

As per this article, every year people use more than 16 billion disposable coffee cups around the world.

Imagine, how much non-disposable plastic waste we are creating everyday on this beautiful earth?

This led me to rethink about how much plastic coffee cups I should use in my daily life.

Today, I will discuss more about Solo coffee cups.

Are Solo coffee cups recyclable and if not, what should we do to reduce this plastic garbage in our locality?

If you are looking for the short answer then I must tell you that not all Solo cups are recyclable.

All the red Solo cups are not 100% recyclable. These red cups come with number 6 plastic which can not be recycled in every area.

You will need to check in your area whether the local municipal authority processes the number 6 plastic in their local recycle center. If not, you will have to get in touch with the companies like Terracycle which process all types of Solo plastic cups and hard to recycle plastic material.

But if you are looking for more eco-friendly and biodegradable options, then I highly recommend you to use their 12 oz and 16 oz Solo Paper Hot Cup with Lid only.

Why I recommend to use these paper hot cups is because they are made with 95% plant based renewable material.

This simply means that these cups contain only 5% material which is non-recyclable. But you can compost these cups easily and repurpose as well as reuse them in your home and garden too.

So, remember to use these types of Solo paper cups only instead of harmful plastic cups next time you visit your local grocery store.

Table of Contents

How are Solo Cups Made?

I will not go into much details of manufacturing process of these Solo cups.

If you want to read how the company manufactures these Solo plastic cups in the factory, then just read this article from

And if you are interested in knowing the history of Solo Cup company, then do check out their company about us section here.

The most important thing to know from this about page is that the Solo company started to manufacture cups that are made from recyclable, compostable and renewable materials from the year 2008.

If you do want to use their eco-friendly and recyclable cups then I strongly recommend to buy their cups that come with Bare label.

This Bare is their eco-forward product which is made from as much eco-friendly material as possible.

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Why are Red Solo Cups not Recyclable?

The main problem with red Solo cups is they contain the number 6 plastic material.

This plastic is known as polystyrene.

According to this article published on, this polystyrene is a hard plastic recognized by Recycling Code no. 6.

It is also commonly known as Styrofoam material.

This is the same material which is used in the manufacturing of Red Solo coffee cups.

This type of plastic is very harmful for not just humans but to our environment too.

The products that are made from this hard plastic are really difficult to reprocess and recycle.

So, whenever you plan to use such types of coffee cups, I highly recommend you use either paper, steel or glass coffee mugs.

Are Solo Hot Paper Cups Recyclable?

Yes, almost all Solo Hot Paper Cups with Lid are 95% recyclable.

Solo hot paper cups do contain about 95% recyclable and environment-friendly plant-based material.

There is only 5% part which is made from either plastic or other hard to recycle material.

But these Solo Hot Paper Cups with lid are the best coffee cups in my opinion in comparison to their red cups.

At least you can compost and recycle them in your home or garden safely.

Are Solo Coffee Cup Lids Recyclable?

Some US States like Ohio do allow the caps and metal jar lids to recycle through local municipal recycling centers.

But many states have prohibited the recycling of coffee cup lids that are made from plastic material.

So, Solo cups that come with plastic lids are obviously not recyclable easily in several US states.

But there are two options to tackle this issue.

You either have to start using coffee cups that come with recyclable material or just have to get in touch with the companies like Terracycle.

Terracycle is a social enterprise that helps you recycle everything including hard to recycle plastic products that also includes your Solo plastic cups with plastic lids as well.

Is it Safe to Reuse Solo Paper Coffee Cups?

Yeah, Solo paper coffee cups are completely safe to reuse or repurpose for other things in your home and garden.

The main reason is they are made from 95% plant-based, compostable and bio-degradable material.

There is only 5% part which is made from either plastic or other non-recyclable material.

So, I guess you can safely reuse or re-purpose them in your home.

The different ways that you can reuse these paper coffee cups are provided as follows.

  1. Make pencil container
  2. Prepare coffee cup lamps
  3. Use these coffee cups as a scoop
  4. Prepare cupcakes from coffee cups
  5. Shred these cups and use them as a compost material
  6. Design gift cups from these paper cups.

For more information, kindly read this article from

Are Solo Cups Biodegradable?

Not all Solo cups are biodegradable in reality.

The Solo Hot Paper Coffee cups are the only cups that are 95% eco-friendly and biodegradable by design.

Because as mentioned earlier, they are mostly made from environment friendly plant-based materials.

I don’t recommend using Solo red cups because as mentioned above, they do contain polystyrene plastic as a primary ingredient.

This plastic comes under Recycling Code no. 6 which means it is very hard to recycle this type of plastic.

Therefore, Solo red cups are not biodegradable unfortunately.

But the use of Solo Paper Cups is completely safe for our environment as it contains majority of plant based material.

What are the Best Alternatives to Red Solo Cups?

If you are a die-hard fan of Solo cups and still want to use them while keeping in mind environment safety, then the only best option for you is to use Solo Paper Coffee Cups that come with lid.

They contain 95% plant-based material and is completely safe for our environment too.

You can compost and reuse them easily in your home and garden too.

So, instead of using Red Solo cups, I recommend to use Solo Hot Paper Coffee Cups.


The fact is not all Solo coffee cups are 100% recyclable.

However, you can still reuse or re-purpose Solo paper coffee cups at your home.

And you can also get help from recycling companies like Terracycle that will help you recycle Solo plastic cups which are made from hard polystyrene material.


Christine Jacobs

Hi I am Christine and I am the proud owner of I am an avid coffee enthusiast and mother of a beautiful 9 years old daughter. I love writing and researching about coffee topics. This blog is dedicated to all the regular coffee drinkers and coffee machine users. Here, you will find the most comprehensive and thorough coffee tips and guides that you will not find elsewhere very easily.

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