Do you plan on reducing plastic use at your events?

(Belinda Booker) #1

We’re all being urged to reduce our use of disposables. On an individual basis that’s fine, but it strikes me as an especially huge challenge for event organisers. Can you really ask attendees to bring along their own reusable cups, plates and cutlery?

How can big events like @Music_Festivals avoid sending so much waste to landfill, where even “greener options” don’t have the required oxygen to break down?

(Roy Harvey ) #2

As a bar provider, we operate a reusable cup scheme that has proven to be a great success at the events we operate at. More info can be found at our website: - Additionally, we’ve contributed to RAW Foundation’s Plastic Free Festival Guide!
RAW Foundation is dedicated to eradicating
plastics across the world. As part of this
mission they are working with the UK Festival
sector to reduce single-use plastics.
To download the guide for free, please follow this URL link:

(Abena P) #3

I often hire glassware and crockery rather than using disposables. It is generally pretty cost effective.

(Belinda Booker) #4

This is great. Thanks so much for sharing. I was reading up on the reusable cup scheme you operate at Shambala. I am interested to know how the festivalgoers get the cup washed between uses? Do they do it at the bar if you hand over a dirty cup or are there washing points?

(Belinda Booker) #5

What kind of events have you done this for? I can see it working for networking, dinners and smaller parties, but think it would be challenging for outdoor events where you have food vendors etc.?

(Abena P) #6

Yes admittedly I have only tried this for indoor, business events. For outdoor events, biodegradable plates and cutlery might be an option. Check out these biodegradable wine glasses!

And there are lots of options at Vegware

I was at a festival last year where everyone was given a plastic pint glass and you would swap it for a clean one at the bar every time you wanted a drink. At the end of the festival, you could hand your plastic pint glass in and get a glass one with special artwork that could be kept as a memento. If a biodegradable pint glass was used instead of plastic, then that could be a pretty sustainable system, especially if the returned glasses were washed and reused at other events.

(Roy Harvey ) #7

Festivals usually work with a resuable cup company, and are typically provided with enough cups to serve all drinks throughout their event, with all the dirty cups being taken at the end of the event to be washed offsite. Some very large events, or those near to facilities, may install washing stations onsite or wash daily.
Audiences either pay a deposit or a non-returnable one-off charge for their first cup, and then exchange dirty cups for clean each time they purchase another drink. For example Refresh West managed a full reusable cup system for Love Saves the Day (capacity 20,000). The audience paid a one-off £1 levy for their first cup, and then exchanged dirty cups for fresh throughout the event. Signs were placed at the bars, bar-staff were trained to explain the initiative to customers, and auditing systems were put in place. The result was that many thou- sands of single-use cups were prevented from being used and discarded, making less waste and a cleaner festival site.

(Belinda Booker) #8

These are great, but organisers still need to make sure this waste is sent to a composting site rather than landfill, otherwise it can’t biodegrade. Reuseables are definitely a better option - love the idea of the pint glass scheme you mention.

(Belinda Booker) #9

That’s fantastic, such a good idea. I wonder if this could be done with plates and cutlery too…


Reuseables are definitely a better option - love the idea of the pint glass scheme you mention. It is generally pretty cost effective.

(Belinda Booker) #11

@RefreshWest can you answer this? Does it cost more to run a reusable pint glass scheme and if so, roughly how much?

(Aman Brar) #12

They’re usually cost neutral if you decide to rent the glasses without printing a logo. If you print a festival logo then they’re pretty collectible and people often take them home (the percentage would vary though), so overall I think it would probably be a little more expensive than cheap plastic but not by much…

(Belinda Booker) #13

I saw a novel idea for replacing plastic straws - at bbar in Victoria, London they are using pasta straws!