Significant reduction in waste at events thanks to reusable cups

Since June 2023, only drinks served in reusable materials are allowed at events in Flanders. This measure has immediately led to a remarkable reduction in residual waste, the public waste management company OVAM reported on Friday.

Residual waste at events has fallen by 40 per cent in recent months, and sweeping waste at open city events by 60 per cent. At closed festivals, total waste per visitor has fallen by 63 per cent.

These figures show the success of reusable catering materials. The number of suppliers is increasing, as is the availability of reusable cups on the rental market. In addition, three-quarters of Flemish municipalities have reusable cups, and 23 out of 27 waste inter-municipalities offer rental services for reusable cups.


To help event organisers and municipalities transition, OVAM and Fost Plus are organising a conference on reusable catering materials on 6 March, before the kick-off of the new event season.

OVAM is also considering other measures to reduce waste at events further, such as a new study focussing on festival campsites. Here, campers leave behind between 1.4 and 2 kilograms of garbage. According to a sample survey, this consists mainly of residual waste and recyclable materials.

However, some festival-goers say they do not leave any waste behind out of respect for the organisation or because they want to reuse it. OVAM proposes six initiatives that festival organisers can implement to encourage this group. "In this way, we are working together to ensure a beautiful and clean festival summer," says OVAM spokesman Jan Verheyen.


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows reusable drinking cups pictured at the opening of the 176th edition of the 'Gentse Feesten' city festival in Gent, Friday 19 July 2019. This year's edition takes place from 19 to 28 July. ​

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