(One of) the secrets behind Paleo’s eco-friendliness

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Paleo cup washing operation. © Paleo Festival Nyon 2009

Nyon, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Last year, festival-goers to the Paleo Festival Nyon discarded 1.2 million plastic cups in six days. Drinks, hot and cold were sold in cups that ended up in the garbage, or more likely on the ground. The festival’s organizers decided that things had to change.

Enter Ecocup, a French company. For the 2009 edition of Paleo, Ecocup is supplying the festival’s 52 bars with 100,000 clean, reusable, plastic cups a day with the Paleo logo on them. When you buy a drink at Paleo this year, you pay a CHF2 deposit on the cup, returnable at any of the bars. Observant visitors will see some of the 80 workers, most of them part of the Paleo volunteer workforce, processing the cups on the way in on the left, about 100 metres before the main entrance.

GenevaLunch spoke to Ecocup’s David Arnaud Friday 24 July.

The company was started four years ago by four friends, who owned a bar that catered to tourists in the local feria in southern France.  Tired of the mess of throw-away cups, they decided to offer their clients reusable cups. The idea caught on. And they began to dedicate themselves full-time to providing reusable cups at sports events and concerts. Ecocup now covers major festivals all over France, such as Solidays at Paris’ Longchamps tracks and the Eurockeenne at Belfort, and sports events like the World Ski Championship at Val d’Isère, in Savoie.

When the party's over, a thing of the past. © Ecocup

When the party's over: a thing of the past. © Ecocup

Cleaning a reusable cup uses an average of 8 cl of water. Many people forgo the deposit and keep the cup as a souvenir. All in the name of making our world a little cleaner.

See also GL’s Paleo Photo Album and the rest of GenevaLunch’s coverage of the Paleo Festival.