I have been on the hunt for a good glass reusable cup for the longest time. But, I have found that a) they are either WAYYYYY too expensive. I mean $25+ for a glass cup? b) They often come with either a plastic or stainless steal straw. In my opinion, that completely negates the reason you would drink from glass (other than environmental reasons). So, I realized that I could probably easily DIY a glass tumbler on the cheap. And, when I finally got around to actually doing it (because let’s be real, it wasn’t high on the mom priority list because we often put our needs at the bottom of the totem pole) I realized how easy it was and I was able to make MULTIPLE tumblers!
Why No Plastic?
Many plastic bottles and reusable cups now claim to be BPA free (bisphenol A). BPA is a material used in plastic production. This material can leach into the contents within the vessel post-production. BPA mimics estrogen and could harm brain and reproductive development in fetuses, infants and children, and adults.
Even if your container is BPA free, the replacement for BPA has been found to be just as harmful. This replacement is called BPS (bisphenol S). BPS was used in place of BPA because it was believe to cause less chemical leaching into the products the plastic was holding. But, studies have confirmed that there are significant levels of BPS found in the majority of Americans. BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer. So, BPS is found to be just as dangerous (maybe even more dangerous) than BPA. But, have you seen any containers claiming to be BPA and BPS free? Personally, I only recently found out about BPS when I started doing research on the harmful components of plastic.
I am now on a mission to rid my house of plastic. But, unfortunately you will find that nearly everything in the store has plastic packaging. From children’s and Infant’s squeezy pouches to canned vegetables, fruits, soups, and beans! Heating these plastic containers (tupperware, cups, etc.) also speeds up the leaching process. This means no dishwasher, too as the dishwasher heats up significantly during cleaning.
Plastic is also not sustainable, and some plastics are not recyclable. So, even if you go with plastic tumblers to replace say that throw-away starbucks iced coffee you get every morning, odds are that plastic tumbler will eventually crack, fall apart, or chip… adding to the now insane plastic crisis we have on a global scale.
Why no stainless steel? Or is it stainless steel?
Stainless steel is often a great replacement for plastic cups. However, it has been found that a lot of stainless steal products contain some compounds that can be harmful such as nickel, chromium, and even arsenic. These compounds won’t leech into your food and beverage unless the stainless steel is compromised (such as a scratch or ding from dropping your bottle) or if its contents are heavily alkaline or acidic (like coffee or tea). So, stainless steel is relatively safe to use. But, is your bottle actually stainless steel?
Most people just assume that a metal bottle or cup is made of stainless steel. This is not the case. Many reusable bottles and cups are made from aluminum. Studies found that an increased amount of dietary aluminum may contribute to skeletal issues in preterm or at-risk infants. Also, it can cause neurotoxicity of the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, just because you purchase a seemingly safe aluminum bottle doesn’t mean that it is BPA free. Most aluminum vessels have a plastic interior lining to keep the aluminum from leeching into its contents. Just as mentioned above, you could be exposing yourself to the harms of BPA and BPS and not even know it.
The easiest way to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to unnecessary and harmful chemicals is to simply use glass. Glass is also environmentally friendly. It is made with resources that are abundantly available (like sand). It is very durable (though can be fragile) and will not deteriorate or degrade over time. It will not affect the taste of its contents, is dishwasher safe (huge win in my book!), won’t leech any chemicals, and is 100% recyclable.
Yes, they are more fragile, but you can easily add a silicone sleeve to your glass bottle to help it withstand cracking/breaking/shattering from being knocked over or dropped. I personally haven’t had any issues with my glass cups (except for the one I accidentally left on top of my car and drove away, but that could have happened with any cup).
How to DIY your glass tumbler(s):
What you will need:
<—- One 9-count package of 24 oz mason jars ($19.19)
<—- Two 4-count package of glass straws ($6.99×2)
<— One or Two package of 6-count wide mouth lids ($7.99×2)
Note on the lid: So, the lid is made of silicone. What does this mean? While not a “100% natural” material like rubber, food-grade silicone is a non-toxic polymer mostly made from sand. It can withstand heating and freezing without leaching hazardous chemicals – unlike plastics. There are still studies being done on the safety of Food-Grade Silicone. But, what I can say is that if your food/beverage is coming in little to no contact with the silicone, this is still better than plastic. Always test all silicone before using by pinching and twisting a flat surface on the product. Pure silicon won’t change color. If the product contains fillers, a potential source of contamination, white will show through. I did search for metal lids but most were very vague on what type of metal the lids were made of.
Now, this will make you MORE than one tumbler. Personally I love that I now have multiple straws, multiple jars, and multiple lids. Meaning that I don’t have to wash my cup every single day. All of these items are dishwasher safe. So, when you need a clean cup, pop your dirty one in the dishwasher and move on with your day. I also keep a cup at my office. I also gave two to my mother as she drinks oils as well! And, now she can do it safely. And, my husband uses them as well.
So, what is your unit price per cup?
The total for all five of these items (9 jars, 8 straws, and 12 lids) = $49.15 (give or take for price fluctuation). So that means if you use each of these jars as cups that is $5.46 each! But, maybe you don’t see yourself needing 8 or 9 cups. You can totally just do one package of straws and one package of lids, giving you 6 cups (2 without straws, because you can still drink from it without a straw). And you can use the remaining jars for food storage, canning, preserves, other mason jar crafts. I mean, personally I can never have too many mason jars.