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Tomorrowland risks huge fine for non-reusable cups

13:59 19/05/2024

Belgium’s popular Tomorrowland music festival wants to continue distributing non-reusable cups, a practice that is now illegal under a decree passed in 2023.

The festival organisers had requested an exemption, which was refused by Flemish environment minister Zuhal Demir, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

This means, in theory at least, that if non-reusable cups continue to be distributed, Tomorrowland could be fined up to €2 million.

Last year was seen as a transition period, where festivals that had not yet invested in disposable cups were able to prepare for the new system, for example by developing a fast and efficient washing service.

Most festivals, for example Rock Werchter, now use the new eco-cups. However Tomorrowland said that, in addition to providing millions of reusable cups, it will still distribute disposable ones.

The aim is to clear the stock of some three million beakers bought in 2022. The organisers then want to recycle these cups into a tarpaulin to create a new festival tent.

As well as this laudable recycling aim, Tomorrowland said it was already contributing to environmental goals. Notably it claims that it is the only festival using fully compostable materials.

The recycling versus reuse debate continues to be controversial at European Union level, particularly when debating the new packaging regulation.

Soft drinks organisations and food and drink industry representatives FoodDrinkEurope said reuse should not be used at all costs.

Notwithstanding, if the ministry chooses to prosecute Tomorrowland for breaching environmental legislation, the organisers could face hefty fines of up to €500,000 per day.

This huge sum would still be far below what the world famous electronic music festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is expected to make financially.

Tomorrowland is incredibly popular – its 400,000 tickets were sold, in two batches on separate days, in less than 30 minutes each time.

This year's Tomorrowland festival runs from 19-21 July and 26-28 July near Boom (Antwerp province).

The theme for the 2024 event is ‘Life’ and headline acts include David Guetta, Armin van Buuren and Tiësto.

Written by Liz Newmark



Why an exemption again? Other and bigger festivals can cope with the demand of using reusable cups - look at Munich’s beer festival. The simple objective is to reduce waste.

May 22, 2024 08:57