- Buyer's Guide
Collapsible Essentials to Trim your Daily Carry
If you’re into optimizing your carry (and the space in your bag), then collapsible essentials – like cups, bottles and bowls – can really open up that valuable excess space.
Enter Stojo, founded by three dads from New York, who wanted to create a reusable cup that was ultra-portable and leak-proof. It comes in four sizes ranging from 8 oz to 24 oz, and in a variety of colors. They all are made of LFGB Certified silicone, are BPA-free, and have no phthalates, leads, or glues. They are dishwasher safe, fit in standard cupholders, have a lid with a leak-proof seal. And if you opt for one of the larger two sizes, they come with a silicone straw as well. For hot drinks, there is even an ingenious insulated sleeve, just like from your favorite coffee shop.
But why a cup? For starters, a drinking experience is greatly enhanced and dependent on the vessel it’s consumed in. There is specific drinkware for almost every occasion. From single malt whisky glasses to matcha bowls for enjoying Japanese green tea on special occasions. A cup is easier to hold because of the way it flares out, and depending on the opening, makes it easier to enjoy certain beverages, as opposed to sipping it from a bottle.
The portable and collapsible nature of the Stojo cup means being able to enjoy a drink and pack your waste in situations you might not have imagined. Fill it up with your morning coffee or tea at the hotel continental breakfast before you head to the first session of the conference. Take it on a plane and enjoy a hot beverage without worrying about spilling or needing to ask the stewardess for refills. When you are done, the whole thing (straw, sleeve, and all), collapses into a tiny footprint that fits most purses or even jacket pockets.
In practice, I found the 16 oz easy to use, after about a minute to adjust. It comes collapsed to just 2 inches which is great for two reasons: first, it reduces packaging waste, and second, it makes for a great initial user experience unboxing it, teaching you how to expand and assemble it. When empty, the silicone walls are soft and flexible so my hand’s muscle memory and expectation of grasping a traditional stiff mug meant I slightly squeezed in the walls. I thought the added weight and pressure from filling it with water would stiffen things up and it did, to a degree, but I was still using too firm of a grip. The solution? Use the included insulated sleeve, which slides on perfectly (don’t worry, you’ll know when to stop), and provides the right amount of rigidity. From there, it was smooth sailing.
Not to be outdone with just beverages, the team at Stojo recently introduced a sustainable, and you guessed it, collapsible bowl. It holds an impressive 4.5 cups (or 36 oz) and is made from the same food-grade silicone. Everything fits together, from the lid to the snaps, without the need for glues or chemicals. This means what you put in your body is safe and free from BPA, lead, and phthalate. It also means that all parts are dishwasher safe. I was surprised at how nice and convenient the bowl was to use. A minor niggle is the latches take quite a bit of force to open but I’d rather struggle a bit than have food leaking or spilling out of my bag.
The uses seem endless. Taking your lunch to work or school is an obvious choice. Once you are done, you can rinse it out, and collapse it down for easy commuting back home. The bowls are stackable when collapsed and in this state, they are only 1.3″ tall. The bowl is also a great vessel to transport food to share, to a picnic or backyard BBQ. When everyone’s had their share, it drops down, and you leave needing a smaller bag than you came with. And, like the cups, the experience of eating food out of a proper bowl instead of a plastic Tupperware container or disposable paper bowl, is much nicer.
With cups and bowls out of the way, Stojo didn’t forget where this sustainability journey started – the bottle. Their iteration is a 20 oz wonder that has a pleasant tear-drop shape. It comes in nearly two dozen different colors and drops down to just 3.3 inches. The screw-on cap creates an airtight and leak-proof seal and it disassembles for easy cleaning. Lastly, this month, they are introducing their collapsible sports bottle, perfect for anyone looking to stay hydrated during workouts. Compared to the standard bottle, the cap was designed to be easier to unscrew during workouts.
Stojo started with $1M of funding and has had $14M in lifetime revenue in just four years. Like water bottles that are now commonplace, educated consumers are hungry for a company to deliver solutions to make their lives easier while allowing them to support sustainability and reduce waste. With their collapsible and reusable cups and bowls, Stojo is poised to make great strides in the zero waste and plastic-free movement.