10 Things You Didn't Know About Red Solo Cups

Robert Hulseman's 16-ounce Solo cups are as ubiquitous on marathon courses as they are at fraternity parties. (Photo: Steven Depolo/flickr)

The family I used to nanny for used Solo products at every meal. Even before I became environmentally-conscious, I couldn't handle throwing away all that plastic. I would wash and dry all that red plastic and put it back in the cabinet. It took a while for the family to catch on, and I was told to just throw them away, but I didn't listen.

To this day, whenever I can, I rescue Solo products (and others like them) and wash them to reuse. Although they're designed for one-time use, they're incredibly durable. The man who's responsible for designing the most famous of the company's products, the Red Solo Party Cup, recently died.

Robert Leo Hulseman passed away on Dec. 21 at age 84, according to People. He started working in his father's Solo factory at age 18, eventually becoming CEO of the company. You may know that Hulseman's 16-ounce creation is great for holding large amounts of liquid (particularly alcoholic beverages), but did you know these facts?

1. The cup was first introduced in the 1970s.

2. The cup didn't originally have grips or a square bottom, says People. Those features were implemented by the company to make them more stable, including being less tip-able during party games.

3. Despite the folklore, the lines in the cup aren't there as measurements. The company debunked the myth and said it's a coincidence that the lines are approximate liquid measuring guidelines.

Solo infographic
Even though Solo says the lines on their cups are not for measurements, the company offers these ideas for using the lines to make various beverages. (Photo: Solo/Facebook)

4. Despite fact #3, Solo created an infographic (above) with ideas about how to use the lines to make various beverages.

5. All those Solo cups have helped others. Hulseman was big on philanthropy and donated a lot of the money he made from working at the company to Catholic education, anti-poverty initiatives and religious communities, according to his obituary.

6. The cups are so closely associated with party games, Slate reports, that there used to be a website called Party Games UK which sold only red Solo cups, and each order came with the rules for Beer Pong and Flip Cup.

7. Although the cups come in other colors, red is by far the most popular. About 60 percent of the cups sold are red, according to Slate.

8. In addition to designing the iconic cup, People reports that Hulseman is also responsible for another of the company's popular products: the traveler lid for hot beverages.

9. The cups are made from No. 6 thermoplastic polystyrene, a moldable plastic that's cheap to produce but also one of the more difficult plastics to recycle. Many community recycling programs don't accept this type of plastic.

10. And, as I learned when I was a nanny, these cups don't have to be thrown out after one use. They are top-rack dishwasher safe and can be used many times over.