August 21st, 2023
Bettercup locally manufactures reusable cold-serve alternatives for events and venues to replace single-use plastic cups via purchase or rental models.
Bettercup has also established circular reuse services to aid the implementation of this system, including pre-event consulting, collection, washing, drying, storage and ongoing implementation and sustainability support.
Over 500,000 Bettercups with an average of 300 uses per cup have been supplied to venues to date, equating to approximately 12,000 tonnes of single-use plastic diverted from landfill.
The event industry is a significant producer of single-use plastic waste. Just think about how many single-use cups you might use at just one footy game or concert! With increasing attention on the negative impacts of single-use plastic for the environment and landfill capacity, venue owners, operators and related companies are rightly looking to reduce their plastic footprint and align with a more circular model.
Bettercup, an award-winning and impact-led enterprise, founded by Samantha Stone and Christie Kamphuis, is providing reusable cups and circular services to venues and events around Australia and New Zealand, helping them move against single-use plastic use.
We spoke with Bettercup co-founder Christie Kamphuis about how they’re making circular solutions more accessible for big venues.
“Bettercup was founded by combining our backgrounds of project management and technology with a strong sense of environmental purpose and [a goal to] eliminate mass single-use waste at events.”
“Bettercup locally manufactures reusable cold-serve cups and supplies these to our clients to replace single-use plastic cups via custom branded purchases or rental models. To support our reusable cups and their long-life, we also provide a range of circular services that include consulting, collection, washing, drying, storage and ongoing implementation and sustainability support.”
“Our goal is to empower every venue and event we work with to implement a reusable cup solution that can be managed self-sufficiently and scale with their business.”
“Overall, one million tonnes of single-use plastics are used by Australians every year and sadly 84% of this ends up in landfill. In our experience, the event industry wants to engage in more sustainable practices, however, the complexities of collecting, washing, restocking and educating patrons about reusable cups can be burdensome. Comparatively, single-use cups are simple, convenient and extremely cheap which is why many event organisers default to using them.”
“And swapping one single-use product for another (compostable cups) means we just trade one set of environmental problems for another. So, as the reuse model is becoming more accessible, it was a clear win for us and the environment.”
“Bettercup differentiates itself in two ways from other businesses in a similar domain:
We provide circular services to support the implementation of reusable cups. These range from pre-event planning, onsite event cup washing, marketing, communications and patron education, post-event washing and storage of cups. We tailor these to the customer’s requirements to ensure successful implementation with high return rates and self-management.
Sustainability is our core business goal. We manufacture our Tumbler and Taster cups in Australia, recycle broken cups to extend their lifecycle and implement sustainable and ethical practices throughout our supply chain.”
Swapping one single-use product for another (compostable cups) means we just trade one set of environmental problems for another. So, as the reuse model is becoming more accessible, it was a clear win for us and the environment.
“We started by personally funding the company in the early stages and were determined to manufacture locally. We wanted to offer additional services to ensure the cups were used as meant to, and not just ending up in landfill as an expensive replacement to single-use plastic cups.”
“Knowing nothing about manufacturing, lots of research was needed to create a product locally [that suited] our requirements. We had to rapidly upskill in a range of areas like logistics and supply chain management, understanding different plastics and their reusability and recyclability, hygiene standards for reusable food ware and waste reduction in factory management.”
“We soon realised that a ‘cups only’ model was not an effective long-term solution for events and venues and our customers needed circular support services to ensure success on a large scale. Designing and optimising the necessary infrastructure at our washing hub allowed us to achieve this.”
“We also had to consider certain design challenges, including:
Cups stacked too tightly can have moisture build causing mould
Certain ridges on the base of the cup can trap moisture
Porous or low reusable quality materials can generate and trap mould
Correct washing detergents and rinse aids are needed for hygienic wash and reduced drying time
Designing factory processes are needed for washing and cup stacking, drying and reboxing as quickly as possible to go out to more events”
“The Bettercup model achieves circularity by:
Eliminating single-use plastic cup waste
Innovative design: Through rigorous design, local manufacture, careful washing processes and event support systems, Bettercups are created to be durable, hospitality-friendly, aesthetic, and to be reused 300-500 times. Importantly, a Bettercup only needs to be used seven times to become environmentally neutral and have lower emissions than a disposable cup.
Industry-leading equipment: Local manufacturing capability and the cleaning equipment enables our circular model to be cost-effective and scalable.
Education: We continually educate event organisers, venue managers and patrons about the benefit of reusable cups and a circular model.
Sustainable end of life: When a Bettercup becomes cracked or damaged beyond use, we work with local recycling centres to recycle the cups into post-consumer grade products such as nursery plant pots, wheelie bins and park benches.
Internal review and adjustments: We practise high standards of waste reduction in our warehouses and manufacturing plants, including recycling all waste, cardboard, pallet wrapping and other incidental waste.”
“Since launching in 2018, we have supplied over 500,000 reusable Bettercups to the events industry, with an average of 300 uses per cup. This has helped eliminate the use of around 150,000,000 single-use cups at events and venues to date, equating to over 12,000 tonnes of single-use plastic waste diverted from landfill!”
“We have worked with major internationally renowned events including the Australian Open, Melbourne Fashion Week, Splendour in the Grass, Dark Mofo, WOMAdelaide and many more. Bettercup is also the preferred cup supplier for iconic Melbourne venues such as The Forum and Princess Theatre and well-known beverage brands, councils and universities nationwide.”
“We’ve also witnessed additional benefits like reduction of logistical burden on event staff, increased public awareness about the reusable model, recycling of cups at their end-of-life and influence on local manufacturers on their internal waste reduction initiatives.”
“Despite being hard hit during Covid lockdowns in Melbourne, we spent this time building our systems and processes in sales, marketing, logistics through to supply chain and washing/drying infrastructure, which allowed us to reopen after the pandemic and see continuous growth. Having our close friendship through the challenges has also made it extremely rewarding.”
“We hope to see more investments in the infrastructure to support reusable solutions at scale, such as washing hubs supported by local councils or government grants, accessible by community groups and smaller venues to remove the initial barriers to convert from a single use to reuse model.”
“We envision a future where there are no single use cups and everyone who attends an event knows the drill - you get a drink in your reusable bettercup, return it to the correct place for it to be used again and do your small bit for the planet!”
“If you are an event or venue manager interested in sustainability, we offer a free discovery session to see how reusable cups and systems can work for you. We help you determine the best reusable cup model and provide implementation advice at no cost or obligation to you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 881 888 and mention ’Planet Ark Discovery Workshop’.”