An Insider’s Guide to Switching to Reusable Cups


We get a lot of questions of all kinds from people who run events or have venues about how implementing reusable cups will work best for them.

There are a lot of things to consider in order to make an event run smoothly, and generally speaking, the bigger your event, the more you have to consider!

Here we’ve compiled some things to think about if you want to switch from single use cups to reusables, and some tips to help you overcome the main hurdles.


1. Your Goal

Firstly, think about what you want to get out of implementing reusable cups. Obviously, no matter what, you get the green credentials and a shiny sustainability sash and crown. But- do you want to get a set of cups that will be a one time investment, that your event will use for years to come? Or do you want eye catching artwork, maybe some sponsor logos, a real piece of art that your customers might want to keep, and you can update each year so your cups become collectable?  

1a. your budget.

This ties into your goal. An upfront investment that your event probably hasn’t had to deal with before is likely, but remember you’re paying for single use cups in more ways than one too- your cleaning and waste bills will certainly improve!

Tip: there are ways to offset your upfront investment, by keeping your cups forever and not having to buy any again- reusable or otherwise- or by monetising your cups.

1b. container deposit scheme.

Container deposit schemes can be tricky due to the perception and the logistics, but they have so many benefits. Once you’ve given a cup a dollar value, it is no longer seen as something unimportant that can just be discarded. You need to consider how much your deposit will be, and you can do this by assessing the demographic and size of your event. Don’t charge less per cup than you paid!

Tip: Generally speaking, the cheaper your deposit and the cooler your cup, the more likely people will want to keep it. The more expensive the deposit and/or the more basic the cup, the more you’ll get returned.

1c. rental or purchase.

You can always choose to rent if you prefer a lower cost, lower effort solution. If you rent, you can have cups delivered, use them, pack them up and have them collected at your convenience, whereas purchase gives you the freedom of customisation, and your own set of cups that you can use again without worrying about ordering and shipping.

Tip:  Rental can be the perfect choice for the first year at an event, letting you observe and iron out any issues and decide whether you want to go all in with a purchase the following year. If you have your heart set on a custom cup though, we can give you back up rentals if you’re not confident in your numbers!

2. Logistics.

Yes, as you can imagine, this will be very different to single use cups. Firstly, you need to give a lot more notice if you’re ordering custom cups, as they can take 1-2 months (or more!) to produce. The labour will shift- largely away from site cleaning and waste and onto other things, like collecting and returning deposits, and washing (if you choose to wash)

Tip: You can use tokens as a currency for punters to avoid having them carry a cup they’re not using, or have lanyards and wristbands available for hands free cup carrying. If you’re using a wristband chip payment system, you shouldn’t have any troubles with taking and returning deposits as required.

2a. washing.

This is the fun part, You need a plan based on what facilities you have on site. This varies hugely from a big conference centre to a festival out in a paddock in the country and needs serious consideration.

Tip: Our cups are dishwasher safe and that’s usually the most effective way to wash them. Drying can be more tricky! Just ask us and we can come up with a solution that’s right for you based on your drinks numbers and facilities.

2b. customer responses

For most people, reusables are a welcome change and people already appreciate why they’re being used. Some people are not so happy- mostly with having to pay a deposit for their cup upfront so expect that you may get a few grumbles.

Loch Hart Festival

Tip: make sure to get the word out so everyone knows what to expect before attending the event via your social media channels, emails to your ticket holders and info on your website. We can help produce content including images and copy to assist with the how and why messaging.

2c. storage

Cups should be dried completely before being stacked and stored in the boxes they came in (or any clean box) they should be sealed to prevent anything getting in before they’re used again

Tip: Ask us how much space you’ll need to store your cups. We’ll give you the carton dimensions and cubic m space you’ll need for the quantities and types of cups you’re ordering.

What to Expect.

Expect a few shout outs for your sustainability credentials on social media from happy punters. Definitely expect you’ll lose some cups to light fingers, and that you will need to iron out some issues and deal with a few roadblocks. Expect a cleaner, more photogenic site! If your cups are branded, they can certainly become a piece of merchandise that your customers use throughout the year to remember how much fun they had. We love a debrief meeting to talk about what went well and what could be improved, so you can expect to hear from us after your event!

If you aren’t sure where to start with ordering cups, give us a call, as it can be a lot easier to ask all your questions and figure out what will work best for you over the phone.

You can find all our contact details here!

Better Cup.