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Stanning Stanley cups

Updated: Apr 17

By Lauren Wilson Apr. 3, 2024

Once known for their durability, Stanley cups recently emerged as the latest TikTok-driven obsession. Starting as outdoor gear and originally associated with men, these steel bottles have transformed into accessories, influencing discussions about sustainability and shopping trends.

Stanley cups are stainless steel water bottles manufactured by the 110-year-old brand, Stanley. These cups are offered in a variety of sizes, with the $45 40-ounce choice being popular among consumers. The large sizes reduce the need for refills and allow for ample hydration and convenience, especially for outdoor and athletic activities.

 Many regard Stanleys as environmentally friendly because they decrease plastic waste as a reusable alternative to single-use plastic bottles. This stands in stark contrast to popular water brands like Fiji Water, which heavily rely on plastic packaging and create environmental pollution and waste. However, some believe Stanleys perpetuate consumer culture and are unnecessary because other reusable bottles possess the same positive aspects, such as Hydro Flasks—a past trend that also emerged from TikTok.

“As a track athlete, I use a ThermoFlask, and it is satisfactory enough. I do not understand the hype surrounding Stanleys, as there are cheaper options that provide the same benefits,” Junior Dean Isani said.

Furthermore, the popularity of these cups greatly increased, as CNBC estimated sales reaching over $750 million last year, a staggering increase compared to the average of $70 million annually before 2020, a surge amplified by Tiktok, as influencers uploaded content supporting the cups on #Watertok, a section of TikTok dedicated to hydration and skincare.

“Before Stanleys were trending, I purchased one because it had a handle and could fit in a cup holder. Although their design is very convenient, they are overpriced as there is not anything special about the quality,” Traci Perez, Special Education Department, said.

Despite their prevalence, controversy arose surrounding potential lead exposure from the cups. Despite the company's assurance that the lead is completely enclosed within the stainless steel, three lawsuits were filed against Stanley’s parent company, Pacific Market International (PMI). Jack Caravanos, a professor of public health at New York University specializing in lead studies, conducted testing on Stanleys using an X-ray fluorescence detector, declaring that the lead within the cups poses no threat to human health.

Ultimately, Stanley Cups exemplify the complexities of modern consumer trends. While some appreciate them for their convenience, others question their popularity and have concerns surrounding lead in the cups.


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