Anyone who’s been to a concert in the past couple of decades knows the sound: the crunch of dozens or hundreds of plastic cups littering the venue floor at the end of the show. How much less waste would there be if those cups — which number in the millions every year — could be washed and reused instead of dumped in a landfill?
In an early major step in the right direction, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has announced a partnership with r.Cup, a sustainable platform that provides reusable cups in an effort to replace single-use plastic cup use. NIVA members in r.Cup operating cities can reduce their environmental footprint with r.Cup’s reusable cup system while raising funds for the National Independent Venue Foundation.
NIVA members in Denver, Seattle, and soon Los Angeles and Milwaukee have the opportunity to use r.Cup’s services rather than using disposables in their venues to help protect the environment with lower greenhouse emissions. Through this partnership, r.Cup will also donate $.01 to NIVF for every cup utilized by a NIVA member.
Live Nation announced a similar program at its venues last September via its partnership with Turn Systems.
“NIVA is uniquely positioned to encourage our members to adopt sustainable practices, in particular to reduce single-use plastics through this innovative program,” said r.Cup COO Cody Cowan. “Not only does this program align with our green initiatives, it helps raise funds for our organization so we can continue our work supporting independent music and comedy venues in communities across America.”
According to the announcement, R.Cup is a full-service reuse system that provides a variety of cups and containers, collection bins, delivery and pick-up logistics, sanitizing services, program training and more. After every event, r.Cup collects, washes, sanitizes, inspects and then repackages cups to be used again. R.Cup is the first national reusable platform of its kind and has diverted millions of single-use cups and foodware from landfills, eliminating two million tons of C02 emissions in over 90 cities, 30 states, and 12 countries. In North America alone, the live event industry contributes over 4 billion single-use and disposable cups each year filling landfills.
While organizations such as Reverb and artists like Dave Matthews and Billie Eilish have made major strides toward a greener live-music environment in recent years, there’s little question that venues and festivals in Europe are far ahead of the U.S. in such efforts. Variety spoke with the organizers of Norway’s remarkably forward-looking Oya festival last year about their methods, and how they can be adopted by venues and festivals everywhere — see the article here.