Settling the score on reusable vs. recyclable cups

News & Blog

Landfill-bound trash at a music festival in New Jersey, summer of 2019. Courtesy Effect Marketing.

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to beverage cups used at concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings: A fierce competition is underway to be seen as the sustainable container of choice, with each cup vendor making its own claims of environmental superiority. Obviously, they can’t all be best.

In many respects, this is a great competition to have. Reusable cups, barely a blip two years ago, are catching on in public venues. What was once almost unheard of — beer, cocktail and soda cups at ballgames or rock concerts, each undergoing multiple use cycles — is gaining momentum. As arenas and stadiums reopen post-pandemic, several are embracing a new environmental ethic, including promoting both recycling and reuse, with those ubiquitous 16-ounce cups near the top of most lists.