The use of reusable cups at one of Belgium’s biggest city festivals has resulted in a major decrease in the trash left behind by visitors. According to figures from city officials, visitors to the Gentse Feesten left behind 15 tonnes less waste than last year – a 27% decrease compared to 2017.
City officials attributed the marked waste reduction to a series of measures – among which the introduction of “night” teams who cleared out trashcans in the evening and the decision to stop serving drinks in single-use plastic cups.
This summer, the Gentse Feesten became the first large Belgian festival to serve all its drinks in reusable cups, to be purchased at a cost of €1 and to be returned at the end of the night at a variety of festival locations.
“The system of reusable cups absolutely worked,” Tine Heyse, an alderwoman for the local Greens, told the Dutch-language newspaper De Morgen. “It was a bit of an adjustment for some people, but everyone was satisfied.”
People who visited the festival but who for some reason weren’t able to return their reusable cup can still do so by taking them to the Stadswinkel, the Ghent-focused shop operated by the city.