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Politics and Pop Culture: One Stanley Cup is enough

Stanley cup collectors rose from their beds in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 and lined up outside their nearest Target in hopes of getting their hands on one of Stanley’s limited-edition Valentine’s Day tumblers. When the doors opened hours later, the crowds flooded in and stormed the Stanley displays in the same manner one might imagine survivors of an apocalypse would storm the last stocked grocery aisle. 

Videos of what one TikTok user calls “The Stanley Cup Craze” have gone viral, and many people are making fun of the obsessive craze surrounding these cups.

While I can recognize the silliness of waiting in line for hours for a generic tumbler cup that can’t even fit in my backpack’s water bottle pocket, I am not writing this to ridicule people for enjoying what they enjoy. My issue lies with the hypocrisy that exists in buying dozens of reusable water bottles and the environmental effects of trends such as these that encourage people to buy and continue to buy in the name of sustainability. 

Trends such as the Stanley Cup cause people to conflate ethical consumerism with overconsumption. Consumers are told they are doing something good for the environment when they purchase an item, but the effects are reversed when they buy more of that item than they will actually use. 

This phenomenon is by no means new. Take the tote bag, for example. The sustainable cotton bag that was created as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags. A tote bag needs to be used 20,000 times for its environmental impact to outweigh the environmental cost of its production. This would be an easy threshold to meet, but people own so many tote bags that there’s no way each one will actually be used that many times. Thus, the tote bag is not as eco-friendly as it aims to be.

The same can be said of Stanley Cups. Producing stainless steel bottles such as the Stanley Cup, in comparison to plastic bottles, “requires seven times as much fossil fuel, releases 14 times more greenhouse gasses, [and] demands the extraction of hundreds of times more metal resources,” according to The New York Times. However, when someone uses a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one, they prevent the usage of an average of over 150 plastic water bottles a year. 

The idea is that once the consistent use of a reusable water bottle “makes up” for the environmental cost of its production, it’ll start to benefit the environment. But when people own dozens of reusable water bottles, it is highly unlikely that they will use the same one repeatedly, so the environmental benefits are not being met and the overall impact is next to naught.

The purpose of reusable water bottles is in the name — reuse. In ignoring that very essential aspect of the product, consumers are doing the environment and themselves a disservice by wasting environmental resources and money on a product that isn’t actually working. The point of the Stanley is to only own one, so please, for the sake of the environment, don’t buy more than that. 

Brianna Tassiello is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of The Post. Want to talk to Brianna? Email her at

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