Reusable cups taking trash out of live events

Reusable cups taking trash out of live events

Reusable cups taking trash out of live events

An estimated 7,000 people showed up Wednesday night to hear the popular Minnesota band Gear Daddies perform at the biweekly Concert in the Commons in Excelsior.

The crowd consumed thousands of beers, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of beer cups in the trash. That’s because there were very few left behind because they’re reusable.

“What’s really important to Rotary, our club as well as Rotary International, is the environment,” says Laura Hotvet of the Excelsior Rotary. “So, when we’re throwing an event with thousands of people and we’re able to bring in a reusable product versus a single-use plastic cup, why wouldn’t we do that?”

They used cups provided by a Minneapolis-based company, r.Cup, which collects the cups and reuses them at other events. Attaining the goal of keeping the cups out of landfills depends on people who attend an event and use the cups putting them in special receptacles for the company to collect.

“People out here want to do the right thing,” Hotvet says. “They want to help the environment. They throw it in the black bin. We’ve had 98% compliance rate. We’ve harvested back 98% of the cups that have gone out.”

The CEO of r.Cup, Michael Martin, attended the Gear Daddies concert Wednesday to see Excelsior Rotary implement their plan. 

“Oh my God, it’s unbelievable,” he said while watching the huge crowd in Excelsior. “We’re the first reuse company in North America. There’s now 150. We launched the entire industry. It’s the biggest trend in the environmental movement right now.”

According to his company’s website, approximately 4 billion cups end up in landfills from live events in North America alone. So there’s plenty of room for growth in the industry.

“Wherever there’s single-use, we are: football games, baseball games, concerts,” Martin told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “It could be hospitals. It could be corporations.”

The real key to the idea of reusable cups is the simplicity of how it works after people throw their cups in the special r.Cup receptacles at an event.

“We take the cups to our wash hubs we built in conjunction with Ecolab, a Minnesota-based company … sterilize the cups and bring them back over and over. They can be used hundreds of times, ” Martin said.

At Wednesday night’s concert in Excelsior, 5,000 beer cups and 1,500 reusable wine cups were distributed. The Excelsior Rotary expects 98% of them will have been returned when the final figures are in. They also urge anyone who might have taken cups home not realizing how the program works to bring them to the next concert on July 26.