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There are many cups, but there is only one on planet Earth

I recently came across two stories on Instagram: one from Patrícia Reis from @reutilizarmente about her eco-festival saga and Ana Milhazes from @anagoslowly sharing her less than positive experiences when taking their reusable cups to events/festivals, which It inspired me to write this article from a designer's point of view and present some solutions.

Although some events are promoting the word "sustainability", the issue of greenwaching is raised here because they are promoting reusable cups without a returnable tare, which makes them the same as other disposable cups, which are then accumulated in people's homes and are always rejected in festivals.

In the context of Marketing, I understand that brands want to promote their brand as much as possible to attract future customers. But if events want to affirm the concept of sustainability, they must analyze other types of materials or design solutions for cups.

According APORFEST, in 2022, 328 music festivals were held across Portugal

How long does a plastic cup take to decompose?

A disposable plastic cup can take between 250 and 400 years to decompose – and even after all this time it can still be around, as it turns into micro plastic and continues in nature. and, when it is disposed of correctly, only 20% is recycled and the rest is discarded in landfills.

Cups for festivals/events are made of PP nº5 plastic

PP-Polypropylene plastic is used to manufacture food containers or personal hygiene items. It is a plastic with a high degree of recycling and a low impact on the environment. 

However, the recycling process for polypropylene is not as simple as that for other types of plastic. This is because it is a type of plastic that is difficult to recycle due to its chemical structure.

Some festival reusable cups with PP plastic nº5

Despite this, there are several companies and organizations specialized in recycling polypropylene and transforming it into new products.

Sustainable cups case studies

Boom Festival

The Boom Festival is a good example of how a festival should be sustainable and should be used as a reference. It was awarded the "Green Operations Award", a prize that distinguishes festivals for their significant contribution to the development of more sustainable events, and certified as "Outstanding Greener Festival".

copo biodegradavel e compostável

The cups used for cold drinks are compostable, they are made of PLA that is produced from the fermentation of vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, sugar cane or cassava. Thus obtaining lactic acid that are good for the environment and are produced from renewable resources. PLA can decompose into an environmentally friendly compound, which is good for strengthening the soil.


Soditud was already invited under the heading rethink design in Ep.06 The alternative to plastic and they are a national brand with a portfolio of sustainable and edible products for events, festivals and the HoReCa channel.

copo de bolacha e grãos de café

We're talking about everything from 30-day compostable wheat bran tableware used at the Festival Bons Sons em Cem Soldos, edible straws and coffee cups from the edible cookie cupfee.

Haeckels X Redbull

Natural fragrance and skin care brand Haeckels has teamed up with Red Bull to combat the waste of disposable plastic cups.Adding to growing environmental equity efforts, the partnership has created a unique edible cup.

copo comestível

The modular cup features an abstract graphic design with shades of deep navy blue, jade green and beige.

The cup is made from a new biomaterial composed of spirulina, ginger and blueberry.Due to its stomach-friendly components, the cup positively affects energy, digestion and mood when ingested.

Furthermore, if not consumed, the cup will decompose on its own in less than 48 hours, avoiding residues that are harmful to the environment. The partnership between Haeckels and Red Bull to combat it came about due to the alarming fact that approximately 100 million single-use plastic cups are used at festivals each year.

Compostable Eco-Sponsorship Sticker

For brands sponsoring the event, there is another more sustainable solution, which is the application of a compostable sticker with the logo on reusable cups from other festivals.

That is, before entering the venue, anyone who brings a reusable cup from home from other events will apply a sticker for the new event they are about to enter. Thus maintaining sustainability standards and avoiding disposal.

Companies selling utensils for sustainable events:


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