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Seattle Public Utilities and Partners Expand Reusable Cups Program at Venues Across the City

Reusable Cups Cut Down on Single-Use Plastics That Increase Waste and Pollution

SEATTLE (October 18, 2022) —Many concertgoers in Seattle now can opt for cups to be washed and reused rather than recycled or thrown in the garbage, thereby helping to cut down on single-use items which harm the environment and public health. The reusable cup program, which is a public-private partnership between Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), its Reuse Seattle partners and industry-leading company r.Cup , kicked off this summer at Woodland Park Zoo’s ZooTunes Concert Series.

Following the ZooTunes launch, SPU and Reuse Seattle continue to support the implementation of the r.Cup reusable cup system within live music venues around the city this fall. Venues include The Showbox, Showbox SoDo, The Moore, Paramount, and Washington Hall.

”Seattle Public Utilities is a longtime leader on efforts to drive a more sustainable Seattle, including through recycling and composting,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Now, SPU is at the forefront again through this effort to prevent waste from being created in the first place – leading through an innovative new reusable cup and service ware system that reduces harmful plastic pollution.”

The consumption model of single-use packaging is unsustainable and leads to increased waste and pollution, which further harms our environment and public health. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, globally only 14% of plastic packaging material is collected for recycling, while 40% is landfilled, 32% is leaked into the ocean, and 14% incinerated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the generation of waste from single-use food service ware only increased with misguided concerns about the risk of transmission and increases in delivery orders.

“Recycling is one way we address our growing problem of waste and pollution,” said Jeff Fowler, Deputy Director of Solid Waste at Seattle Public Utilities. “But we must also work upstream to tackle this issue with solutions that work. A zero-waste future puts reuse first and supports innovation in public-private partnerships like Reuse Seattle to create circular systems.”

In the reusable cup system, beverages are served to event attendees in the same way they would with single-use cups, but instead of throwing the reusable cups into a recycling bin, guests return them into the labelled collection bins. The cups are then transported to a washing facility to be cleaned and sterilized.


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