In this guest blog City to Sea introduce their new guide and online hub: Solutions on tap is aimed at helping organisers reduce waste and introduce reusable cup schemes at events, and the research that informed and inspired their new resources. The guide offers events of all sizes practical guidance to overcome the misunderstandings and confusion around: buying or hiring cups, deposits or levies, branding or unbranded and where to wash. Plus the dedicated online hub for event organisers, provides communities and councils with resources to help; including a cup carbon and waste saving calculator and ready-made posters for event organisers and bar companies to download.
“Last year’s Vision 2025 research showed that 10% of survey respondents had implemented a reusable cup scheme for the first time. And according to Hope Solutions, this means that for every 1 million reusable event cups in regular use, 1000 tonnes of C02e emissions and 300 tonnes waste could be avoided.
Yet whilst many music events, festivals and sports venues are embracing reusable cups, there are still around 100+ million plastic cups used every year at UK festivals and live events (Hope Solutions), and this doesn’t even account for those at smaller local events and festivals.
With this in mind, environmental not-for-profit City to Sea, (the team behind the Refill movement), carried out research with event organisers and councils, to understand the barriers and challenges and identifying the opportunities for change for event organisers, bar operators and councils.
New guide for event producers
What has developed from this research is “Solutions on tap a guide to reducing waste & introducing reusable cup schemes at events”, a new guide for indoor and outdoor events. The guide offers events of all sizes practical guidance to overcome the misunderstandings and confusion around: buying or hiring cups, deposits or levies, branding or unbranded and where to wash. Plus, a dedicated online hub for event organisers, communities and councils; this includes a cup carbon and waste saving calculator and ready-made posters for event organisers and bar companies to download.
Critically, through talking to event industry leaders and forward-thinking councils, the guide and web hub identifies where councils can drive change. Measures that are already being implemented include: providing guidance during the event application process, single-use plastic bans and providing a stock of cups for local events.
The online hub is collating examples of events and councils acting including Litter-free Dorset who has a supply of 500 cups for small events and Manchester City Council who have been providing reusable cups to traders at their Christmas markets for 15 years.
Cost was one of the most common concerns reported to City to Sea’s research team from event organisers who weren’t using reusable cups – ie. reusables were more expensive than disposables. However, from event organisers who had switched noted the benefits from reduced littering and waste, which therefore led to reduced litter picking and waste management costs. In fact, Manchester Food and Drink Festival reported a 40% saving in waste management costs from making the switch.
Helen Harland, Sustainability Project Manager at Manchester City Council, comments:
“We know that community event organisers have a lot to do, often balancing organisation of an event with other priorities, so any support in making the necessary switch from single-use to reusables is really welcome. Through delivery of our own events and working with other organisers, we’ve heard a lot of questions when considering reusables, so guides like this really help to give organisers the confidence and knowledge to take action.”
Get involved: City to Sea is an environmental not-for-profit, campaigning to stop plastic pollution at source. City to Sea is behind the award-winning Refill campaign & app that connects people to places they can eat, drink and shop with less waste.
Matt Mellen, City to Sea’s Refill Campaign Manager, highlights:
“While larger festivals have improved in recent years smaller festivals still need a bit of support.”
City to Sea’s network of Refill schemes across the country includes more than 70 council-led schemes creating a huge opportunity to put the infrastructure in place for the 2023 event season, saving millions of single-use cups from ending up in our waste stream.
So, the ask for Vision: 2025 readers is to share with your contacts in the industry to help drive change:
And if you would like to share your experience and learnings from running a reusable cup scheme please get in touch with the Refill team so your event can be added to the case studies.
This guest blog originally appeared in the September 2022 Vision: 2025 Newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form below.