What if we stopped with all the plastic cups?

We need to talk about the plastic cup situation in the OKC Metro.

I know a few months ago (Maybe it was a year ago? I don’t know, time is a flat circle and also it’s almost 2020 so what the hell?) there was a picture that went local viral of someone loading up the top rack of a dishwasher with the plastic cups from places like Hideaway and Eskimo Joe’s. I can’t remember what the text said, but it was such a relatable image.

We all have too many plastic cups from restaurants.

If you don’t have them from Fuzzy’s Tacos, then you have them from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, or you have them from O’Connell’s. And now, you can have them from Notorious P.I.E.

(Side note: Notorious P.I.E. is the new pizza restaurant from Hal Smith Restaurant Group in Downtown Norman. It’s good, but gives you the overall feeling that Hal Smith, clad in a Hawaiian shirt, went to Empire in the Plaza once, and decided to steal that concept, but also wanted to give a general 1990s City Bites vibe as well. Notorious P.I.E. is just like every HSRG joint, so the servers are so far up your ass the whole time that you can taste them more than the food. This is a concept that works well at Norman’s west side Louie’s, just because those mile of cars salesmen really like the attention from the Louie’s girls. It’s pretty irritating otherwise.)

Anyway, this post is about the absurd amount of plastic cups that you can get at restaurants.

I know you don’t have to take them. And I try not to. I don’t need them, and if we’re being real, that plastic is not the best way to hold a beverage. There’s no temperature control, and they take up too much space in a cabinet.

And in the end, it’s more plastic that doesn’t need to be manufactured. Sure, maybe you don’t take them, but a lot of people do. And those cups leave the restaurant and wind up cracked and in the trash. Or people treat them as if they’re disposable and don’t mind tossing them in a trashcan because they can get a new one next time they go out.

We know these plastics don’t biodegrade. We know that these just break down into smaller and smaller pieces. And I know that most Oklahomans don’t care about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but do you care about how much plastic shit gets washed into your yard after a rain? Seriously. Take a walk through your neighborhood or nearby park and tell me you don’t have a plastic problem.

And to be clear, I’m not saying we can’t use plastic cups. Use them. But do it responsibly. Stop making cups that people can take, and just do the environment a solid by using those pebbled clear red plastic cups that they have at Mazzio’s. Those are great. They hold liquids! Then the restaurant washes them and reuses them.

It’s a great system.

To conclude, stop making those branded plastic cups. That’s probably a huge cost for a restaurant owner, and it just creates waste. And definitely don’t use plastic utensils like those pictured above. If someone at HSRG needs me to show them where they keep the restaurant silverware at the Norman Sam’s Club, I’m happy to meet you there. Then, the gang of servers who stop by the table one by one and try to pre-bus my half-eaten pizza slice can take turns washing the silverware instead of harassing the customers to make sure everything is great.

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28 Responses


  1. Notorious PIE isn’t even trying to hide that they’re copying Empire. It’s sad to see a local company trying to overtake a smaller, local company for the all-mighty buck. Hope it fails miserably.


    1. I think BLAZE pizza, with it’s fresh motz, fresh meats & veg has Raised the Bar for Upper Crust!


    2. So we should have to drive to the plaza district from Norman if we want comparable pizza? Empire has had plenty of time to expand southward if that’s what they wanted.

      I can’t imagine this will impact Empire much at all.


  2. Amen sister! We’ve got a shelf full of those things, for what purpose I have no clue. And double amen about the constant lurking of servers at HSRG. We recently went to Ted’s and they were trying to take our plates when we were still eating off of them.


    1. Teds is not a Hal Smith restaurant.


  3. Careful there, Marisa.

    Trump is already selling his branded version of plastic straws (and they aren’t cheap!) just to help his minions show a big middle finger to the “libs.” Do you want to encourage him to move on to plastic cups? Then what? Trump-branded plastic sacks to wave in the breeze at us from every twig?

    I’m surprised that Toby Keith, entrepreneur that he is, hasn’t already come out with his own branded line of red solo cups. (The original ones are also washable and reusable, if you’re into that.)


  4. Great article! I don’t have a lot of them because I’m a cheapskate who only orders water when dining out; however, my son has amassed an impressive stack of them from his dealings. I think the hoarding of these cups comes from the idea that the cup is a gift, and who doesn’t like free crap! For those of us who will now be cup-woke yet stuck with a cabinet full, are these suckers recyclable? I know Tupperware and Welfare-Ware from Wal Mart aren’t because they’re heat treated.


    1. They’re generally recyclable. They should have a recycle triangle with a number on the bottom if they are.


      1. Plastic is generally not getting recycled anymore. Huge piles of it are piling up all over the U.S., because China is not taking the shipping containers we have been unloading on them for years. The recycled plastics market has collapsed. That warm fuzzy feeling one gets by doing the right thing when you put that plastic in the blue bin is for the most part unfortunately no longer justified.


        1. Give it time. Corps. like Waste Mgmt. will pick up the slack if there’s money in it. It’ll take some time to re tool. Free inputs are hard to walk away from.
          Signed: Solar panel owners


  5. I’ll leave them most of the time if I get a drink, though I’m not a soda drinker. But our work cupboard is so full of these that you can hardly get a real cup in there.


  6. I agree with your premise! I am hoping manufacturers can create better products to help us solve the plastic problem.


    1. How about …”those pebbled clear red plastic cups that they have at Mazzio’s. Those are great. They hold liquids! Then the restaurant washes them and reuses them.”

      There is also a new material called “glass.”


  7. If one of the massive chain supermarkets like Walmart or Target changed from plastic to paper to help the environment, then mass advertised and pointed out they went green unlike their competitor, the use of plastics might end swiftly. The problem is, then tree huggers everywhere would complain again, as they did in the past before plastic bags, that forests are being massacred for this use. The optional recycled reusable bags you can purchase are a good option-if I could ever remember to take them with me to the store to re-use. The cost to change over completely from plastic is probably huge too. Although I like the local Crest supermarkets that give you an option, I always choose paper at any store if I am conscious enough after shopping there. I kind of hate shopping at all. Also shopping at Wal-Mart is never in my first 5 choices.


    1. I keep some reusable bags in my trunk. I’ve been using them for almost a decade now, and at first I forgot them pretty regularly (lots of trips back out to the parking lot). But once you make it a habit to just grab some bags out of the trunk on your way in, it’s not hard to remember. One advantage to the reusable bags – they hold a lot more than the flimsy plastic bags, and you don’t have to worry about them ripping on your way into the house.


  8. TLO always delivers with top notch satire.


  9. Before 1937 hemp was used to make everything from cups to cars. The logging and oil company’s saw it as a threat to their business so they pushed to have it outlawed. Now that it’s been legalized again we should start making things with it. Would be good for farmers and the environment.


    1. Sure, but wouldn’t there be far more hay bale fires?


      1. Hemp can be havested for fiber or seed oil, hkherbarium.net how is hemp fiber produced


  10. I admit I have the last 3 generations of plastic O’Connell’s cups. (also the last 30 St. Paddy’s Day mugs!!)


  11. I’m very surprised that some of the people aren’t great full for all the jobs a local food service company is providing .
    Outstanding food and service is rare.
    Thank you to all the locals including Hal Smith Restaurant Group . You do an amazing job!
    Thanks for making this industry great.
    Thanks for all the charitable unspoken things you do for our communities.


  12. I use my tote bags for small shopping trips. BUT, I also find the plastic bags perfect for lining my trash cans and keeping their insides clean and dry. If someone could give me an alternative for that, I’d drop plastic bags altogether. A little help here.


  13. NNot a restaurant employee
    September 23, 2019 at 6:25 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I’m very surprised that some of the people aren’t great full for all the jobs a local food service company is providing .
    Outstanding food and service is rare.
    Thank you to all the locals including Hal Smith Restaurant Group . You do an amazing job!
    Thanks for making this industry great.
    Thanks for all the charitable unspoken things you do for our communities.


    1. Uh oh. Hal Smith marketing team is leaking.


  14. We gotta ban,straws, farting cows, cats and dogs, meat and poultry products. All petroleum products, no more heat and air, free speech, certain persons particularly those who are white or native Americans.


    1. Are you OK? You sound like you’re having a breakdown.


    2. Or folks calling themselves Sooner Magic. But it’s easier to just keep watching you from a distance. All the time.


  15. Up in Stillwater, they used to take the Eskimo Joe’s cups and make string lights out of them. Decorated many an off campus deck…

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