Refill Guide for Events: Event Producers

Cut the Cups at your events

As an event producer, you have a lot to consider in planning your event. In order to assist you in navigating the reusable cup scheme, we have done the research for you and have identified what options are available, depending on the size and scale of your event.

Whether you are running a small or large outdoor event or run a venue, we have recommendations for you. This guide covers all the things that you may have been considering:

  • Do you buy or rent cups?
  • Do you need to get the cups branded?
  • Who washes and stores them?
  • Do you charge a deposit or not when handing out reusable cups?

We’ve created the guidance to help you to shift away from single use disposable plastic. Our aims are to provide you with the information, tools and support you need to transition to using reusable cups and other serveware at your events from now on.

We also encourage you to join the Refill Revolution and celebrate with us all the actions being taken across the events industry to reduce waste and other environmental impacts. We want to link up to share best practise and create a wave of positive change.

Resources

Savings Calculator

SAVINGS CALCULATOR

Enter number of cups

Use the slider or type in a number (1-1,000).

Our handy calculator enables you to quantify the carbon and waste savings from switching from single-use plastic to hiring in reusable cups. Great if you need to build a business case. 

Calculation caveat:  as with all carbon calculations some assumptions have been made and don’t account for every scenario that will arise. 

The figures that this calculator use come from Hope Solutions fact sheets and are based on the assumption that the cups are hired in and will be used at multiple events afterwards. Therefore the sum doesn’t account for the initial manufacture of the reusable cups, just the disposable ones.  

Cup posters

To support event organisers of all sizes, we have created a suite of posters that can be downloaded and used for your event, whether you are running a levy, deposit or ‘customer buys their cup’ scheme.

Communication is one of the key elements of a successful reusable cup campaign, especially at the bar.

Posters can’t replace bar staff telling people they have paid for a cup but will go some way to awareness.

So rather than making this another item on the event organisers to do list, we have created them for you. 

Suppliers

If you’re looking to set up a reuse scheme for your event, check out of recommended list of suppliers below. Many solutions already exist to help make events sustainable. 

Case Studies

Many event businesses have already transitioned to the reuse model successfully and continue to make a profit. In some cases the improved environmental credentials are used to build the brand and boost marketing.

1. Shambala

Shambala, a UK festival, that runs two campaigns to encourage reusables. There’s no water for sale at Shambala and customers are asked to bring an empty bottle or buy one on site and fill it up at water points. In 2019, Shambala traders charged 25p for a single-use coffee cups and give a discount for reusable cups. Today, all single-use cups are banned. 

Becka Whiteley, Director of Shambala, commented on the report launch saying:

“We banned disposable bar cups back in 2010 as part of our commitment to be single-use plastic-free. With plenty of other, reusable solutions available, there’s just no good reason to still be using single use cups at your bars. With 15,000 people at Shambala, even if everyone only had a couple of drinks from the bar a day, that’s a huge amount of totally avoidable waste going to landfill. Our audience quickly got used to the system and see it as a real positive – in our experience, they are proud to play a part in reducing the impact of the festival.”

2. Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Manchester Food and Drink Festival that swapped out single-use for reusable cups in 2019. The festival reported a 40% saving in waste management costs due to less bin emptying and litter picking. Helen Harland, Sustainability Project Manager at Manchester City Council, commented saying:

“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. Every event of any size that saves single-use cups going into the waste stream is a huge step forward.”

OTHER WAYS TO TAKE ACTION

  • Install water fountains and / or taps at the venues where you produce events enabling people to easily access free drinking water.
  • If your event is open to the public, register your business on the Refill app you can also add your Refill stations so that people can find them
  • Sign up for our Refill newsletter
  • Share stories from your event on social media – tag us – @refill and use the hash tag – #CutTheCups

We are excited that our new guide may be a first step into the circular economy and reusable space for you and your business. Please stay in touch and let us know how you get on.