October 2015

Up the Hierarchy! Reusable Cups at LARAC 2015

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Courtesy of Eunomia, attendees of the 2015 LARAC Conference will receive a KeepCup for use at the event – and long afterwards. So why have we decided to put our money where the conference delegates’ mouths are?

Whilst last year’s conference was enjoyable and informative, our staff were surprised to see tea and coffee being served in disposable cups. In the spirit of “walking the talk” all the way up the waste hierarchy, we decided that this year we would help the organisers prevent waste. We therefore teamed up with KeepCup to give every attendee a cup they can use throughout the conference – or return to the organisers to be washed and reused – and also take home afterwards for use as they see fit.

 

Eunomia KeepCup

 

The regulations transposing the EU Waste Framework Directive into law in England and Wales require that the waste hierarchy must be followed. Nevertheless, event organisers seem often to favour single-use disposable cups. An easy opportunity to prevent waste is missed: instead, cups are at best recycled, or at worst sent for energy recovery or disposal. It’s time that changed, and we’re delighted to be working with LARAC to reduce the environmental impact of the 2015 conference and ensure the hierarchy is respected.

Numerous studies show that reusable cups win hands down in environmental terms, even before taking account of wider factors such as litter and its associated impacts that are commonly associated with single-use items.

Now, we’re confident that those who attend LARAC wouldn’t be the type to litter, but even if correctly discarded, single-use takeaway cups, being high volume items, can fill up bins pretty quickly. When this happens, subsequent items are sometimes placed on or next to the bin, making it much more likely that they’ll be scattered about – whether by the wind, or by wildlife such as seagulls. We hope that LARAC attendees will hang onto their KeepCups and keep on using them in place of single use cups whenever they want a coffee in future.

 

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While changing how drinks are served at LARAC is a small step in the right direction, we suspect that encouraging a much wider uptake of reusable cups could require those using disposables to take a financial hit. Perhaps a successful implementation of the carrier bag charge in England this month will increase willingness to use similar approaches to tackle other commonly littered items.

We’ve set out a range of ideas about how financial incentives and other measures could be used to promote reuse and recycling, and even to tackle litter, in our Waste Prevention Wish List and Clean Sweep Report.

Let us know what you think about the Eunomia KeepCups at LARAC 2015 using Twitter, #KeepingItLARAC. After the conference is over, please take your cup with you – and we’d be delighted if you shared a selfie showing how it’s helping you feed your caffeine habit while preventing the use of disposable cups.

 

Photos:

Top © KeepCup

Bottom by Drossen7900 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), via Flickr