Cheap Styrofoam coolersif you just want to keep a couple of drinks cold, but they typically end up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to break down, if not longer. Now, Igloo has an alternative that won’t fill you with green guilt during your next trip to the beach.
It’s called the Igloo Recool, and Igloo calls it “the world’s first eco-sensitive cooler made from 100% biodegradable materials.” At just $10 each, it goes on sale exclusively at REI stores starting May 1, with a wider retail rollout set for later this summer.
First seen in January at the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show, the Recool is a hard-sided cooler made from a mix of paraffin wax and recycled tree pulp. With a capacity of 24 quarts, it promises to retain ice for up to 12 hours, making it a good pick for quick day trips. The body features built in handles as well as a lid with four cup holders on it, and Igloo adds that it can stand up to bumps and drops better than Styrofoam, too.
One other benefit over Styrofoam, per Igloo: “No annoying squeaking noises, ever.”
The thing sounds surprisingly rugged for what’s basically a bin made of souped-up papier-mâché. Igloo claims it’ll hold up to 75 pounds of weight, and hold water without leaking for up to 5 days, all of which I’m just itching to put to the test. When you’re finished with it, you can recycle it, compost it — or empty it out and let it air dry before reusing it.
I’m curious to see how well the Recool holds the cold — especially compared with the Styrofoam cooler we tested as a cheap control for. If it’s even in the ballpark of that baseline level of ice retention, then expect to see the Recool take its place as our top pick for cheapskates.