Cold Cups


For on-site dining:

Invest in reusable cups

Approved reusable materials may include: glass, ceramic, stainless steel, aluminum.

For certain circumstances like poolside or the beach, where glass may not be possible, polycarbonate glasses or reusable hard plastic cups can be sourced and washed on-site.

For takeaway:

Allow customers to bring their own beverage containers for takeaway (BYO)

Incentivize customers to bring cups by offering discounts.

Sell sustainable and reusable cups on-site.

COVID Tip: Use contactless pour methods to serve beverages. Implement best practices to sanitize reusable cups alongside contactless drop-off systems, if necessary. Separate CLEAN and DIRTY cups with well-marked trays or containers. Best practices include high heat sanitation and approved detergents.

For large-scale venues or events

Use professional reuse systems

There are professional reuse systems with commercial-grade dishwashing services that can handle the logistics and washing of reusable systems. Many of these focus specifically on providing reusable cup programs for events.

Option to brand your cups.


When reusables are not applicable, choose disposable options that are compatible with available waste management infrastructure.

Approved disposable materials

Materials may include paper with uncoated (or water-based coating), aluminum, bamboo, palm leaf or other home compostable materials.

Best practice paper options have a non-plastic often water-based lining, making the product plastic-free and are compostable and/or recyclable. Confirm liner details and compostability and recyclability claims with the manufacturer.

Aluminum is a solution when recycling infrastructure is in place. Aluminum is nearly infinitely and 100% recyclable and recycling infrastructure for aluminum is widely available globally because there is a high value for the material. These cups are also reusable and can be treated as such.

Some companies are even exploring water soluble options! These are best for tasting glasses, water stations in venue receptions, travel service and other short-term uses.

Compostable Plastic Cups

Compostable plastic cups, including “bioplastics” made from plant-based materials, are one of the most prevalent alternatives to traditional plastic cups on the market. These are primarily composed of materials like PLA (made from cornstarch) that are certified industrially or commercially compostable, meaning that they need to be treated in a specialized facility to properly break down.

There can be no contamination across streams.

Certified compostable items must be separated from other waste streams and collected by approved haulers taking this waste to an appropriate facility for treatment. These compostable products are not recyclable and contaminate recycling streams. On the other hand, compost waste streams cannot be contaminated by any non-compostable materials. Ensure your office building has a contract with a waste hauler who offers commercial composting service and confirm with them what materials they can handle. 

Learn more in Oceanic Global’s Greenwashing Guide.