Q: What are Solo's environmentally focused product offerings?
A: Solo offers a wide variety of environmentally focused products under the Bare® by Solo® brand. Bare by Solo is the industry's first full line of Eco-Forward® single-use foodservice products for restaurants and consumers made using recycled, recyclable, compostable or renewable materials. The Bare by Solo product line includes options for consumers and foodservice operators.

  • Consumer Products
    Bare by Solo products for consumers include plates and bowls made from renewable resources, and cold cups made with 20% post-consumer recycled PET plastic (the plastic commonly found in water bottles and other items). Solo's environmentally preferable products can be found in select retailers and markets. Please visit www.barebysolo.com to find convenient locations. Our products also can be purchased at www.amazon.com and www.alice.com.
  • Foodservice Products
    Bare by Solo products for foodservice operators include plates, bowls, hot and cold cups, food containers and take-out containers made from either renewable resources, compostable materials or with 20% post-consumer recycled PET plastic. To learn more about options for foodservice operators and businesses, please contact your Solo representative or call 1-888-488-7539 or visit this website’s Foodservice pages.

Q: As a consumer, where can I find Solo's environmentally preferable foodservice products?
A: Solo's environmentally preferable products like cups, plates, bowls and food containers can be found in select restaurants, coffee shops and other foodservice operations. While our products are often printed with an operator's logo or design, they often can be identified by looking at the bottom or reverse side of the item.

Consumers can also purchase our environmentally preferable Bare by Solo line of products for use in their own homes. Bare by Solo cups and plates can be found in select retailers and markets. Please visit www.barebysolo.com to find convenient locations. Our products also can be purchased at www.amazon.com and www.alice.com.

Q: I am interested in using Bare by Solo at my business. Who should I speak to?
A: Contact your Solo representative or call 1-888-488-7539.

Q: What does it mean to be "made with 20% post-consumer recycled material"?
A: Instead of creating all of the material from scratch to make our Bare by Solo cups, 20% of it comes from pre-existing materials that consumers added to the stream of recycled products through their own efforts. This "post-consumer" material contained in our Bare by Solo cups comes from products such as used water and soda bottles that people have recycled.

Q: How does Solo determine if its products are compostable?
A: Solo first has an independent lab test to ensure the product meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for compostability in a commercial composting facility. For a product to be certified compostable, it must break down in controlled conditions 90% in 180 days at 135 degrees Fahrenheit After the lab has completed its testing and issued a report to Solo, we often then submit the product to the Biodegradable Products Institute, which also independently verifies and certifies that the product meets the ASTM standard. Finally, in many cases Solo will submit the product to an individual commercial composting facility such as Cedar Grove in Seattle, WA for testing to confirm the product decomposes under live composting conditions. For certain products, Solo has also obtained independent lab certification that they decompose in a home compost setting in accordance with EN 13432 (2000) and ISO 17088(2008).

Q: Why are Solo's environmental products more expensive than its regular products?
A: We work first to make sure these new materials meet our safety and quality standards and also to create a manufacturing process that will enable us to produce them in a cost effective manner. At this time, PLA, sugarcane, recycled PET (RPET) and other renewable and recycled materials are more expensive than conventional paper or plastic materials for a variety of reasons:

  • Supply of renewable resource and recycled content raw material is limited, which naturally makes it more expensive. Demand for these new materials is still developing, so suppliers are reluctant to produce more than they expect to be able to sell.
  • The process of creating the raw material is complex and requires intense collaboration with suppliers to ensure it will produce a safe, quality product that meets all manufacturing and shipping requirements.
  • FDA requirements are much more stringent for the manufacture and use of foodservice items that contain recycled content.

As demand for environmentally preferable products increases, we hope that supplies will increase and the cost of materials will go down.

Q: Why doesn't Solo replace all of its products with more environmentally preferable offerings?
A: We continually test new materials and work with our customers to find more sustainable solutions. However, there are many reasons why this is not a viable option today:

  • Solo products are used to serve foods and beverages and are subject to FDA regulations. Recycled content and renewable resource materials are relatively new in the single-use foodservice industry. It takes many years to research and test new materials to ensure they meet both FDA regulations and our own high standards for product performance and quality.
  • The raw material required is still in limited supply, both because it is new and still under development and because the market for these products is not yet fully defined.
  • Each material choice – whether it falls in the conventional or environmentally sustainable category – has a trade-off and no choice offers a perfect solution.

Q: How can I find out if Solo plastic and paper products are recyclable or compostable in my community?
A: Technically speaking, all Solo products can be recycled. However, The ability to recycle a specific single-use product is dependent upon local municipalities and the recycling methods available to them. A number of Bare by Solo products are compostable in commercial composting facilities. To learn about recycling in your area, contact your local recycling authorities or visit www.earth911.com. To locate commercial composters in your area, visit www.findacomposter.com.

Q: What are the carbon footprints of Solo's products?
A: We are currently in the process of understanding all the variables that affect the carbon footprint of a particular product and collecting the data necessary for analysis and evaluation. This is an important next step to improving the sustainability of our operations and products.