No reusable cups at major festivals yet

Around 1,700 events will have to comply with tightened legislation on sustainability this summer: from 15 June, drinks may only be served in reusable cups, PET bottles and cans. Yet beers at major festivals Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter and Graspop will still be served in disposable cups due to an exception granted by the Flemish government.

The organisers of the festivals have requested an exception from Flemish minister for the Environment Zuhal Demir, De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad, Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg reported on Monday.

"We obviously do not want to boycott festivals, only create positive effects for the environment," Andy Pieters, spokesperson for minister Demir, told the papers. "If it is not possible to work with reusable cups, we can understand that. Organisers do have to demonstrate their inability to do so: if not enough can be supplied, for example, or not enough can be washed. You also have to consider public health, which is why it is important that those cups are completely dry again after washing. Otherwise you get bacteria."

"We obviously do not want to boycott festivals, only create positive effects for the environment"

Tomorrowland is using reusable cups at its campsite but not yet on the festival site. "We have 200,000 visitors per weekend. The market is not ready to supply, wash and stock such a volume of cups," says spokesperson Debby Willemsen. "The bars are not prepared for this either, so we would have to move all those cups to a place off-site. This means organising additional transport, which is not eco-friendly, and burdensome for the neighbourhood."

The one-day festivals Werchter Boutique and TW Classic will make the switch to reusable cups, but the four-day Rock Werchter will stick to disposable plastic. "I assume we will be able to use only reusable cups by next year, because we definitely want to follow the legislation in this matter," said Nele Bigaré, spokesperson for organiser Live Nation.

In time, the exceptions to the legislation will disappear. "This is a transitional year," Pieters said.




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