Fast-paced social events are probably one of the biggest plastic minefields. Kids’ birthday parties, festivals, and outdoor bars are obviously just easier with disposables. Convenience wins over "save the planet" the majority of the time.
Our office party is such an event and hosts drinks every Friday. The upstairs event balcony overflows with people, beer, and a multitude of disposable half pint plastic cups.
This is where the problem of efficiency vs sustainability becomes complicated. If 100 people use actual glasses, how many are smashed? How many are put down and more new ones used? How much water does this use in an industrial dishwasher? Maybe at some points in life, the functionality of plastic wins more environmental battles than the other alternatives.
So, how can we mitigate the ‘damage’ these events do in plastic consumption?
This is about reducing. If plastic is necessary and the legitimately functional option: how do we minimise the impact?
Over the course of the free hour, everyone had roughly three cups. That saves two cups per person that would have hit the trash otherwise.
2 x 8 =16 cups saved
Over the course of the year we have roughly 45 of these evenings
16 x 45 = 720 cups saved.
That’s quite an impact.
Honestly, this was smoother than we expected. Our colleagues didn’t cheat (or find it weird), and we hope that ways can be found to implement this in the future on a larger scale.