Q&A: Events duo offer a better future for our oceans

This week we chat to Sam Stone, co-founder alongside Christie Kamphuis, of Bettercup, a business that offers reusable plastic cups for sale and hire at events. Over 19 days working with St George Open Air Cinema this year, Bettercup – founded in 2016 in Melbourne – diverted 50,000 single-use plastic cups from heading to landfill or polluting our oceans. The duo also work with event organisers on tailored washing solutions, either onsite at the event or back at the Bettercup Melbourne headquarters, where a majority of their cups are made and stored for client’s future events.

ISB: What was the “lightbulb moment” behind the founding of Bettercup?

SS: Wandering through mountains of single use cups and other debris at the many events we were always at, we’d linked our interest in sustainability with our love of events not long after we met. But when we saw initiatives overseas like compostable packaging, different types of plastics and reusable solutions that were being introduced around the world, we knew we needed to research more and find the best solution for events and venues across Australia.

ISB: How did you fund the setting up and early-stage operations of the business?

SS: It was all done by the two of us. Having two people meant we could spread the initial cost between us which was great. It also meant we were motivated to get things moving as fast as possible! It also meant long hours at two jobs getting things set up, but again, at least we could share the workload!

ISB: How do overcome the fact that the use of disposable cups at events is so entrenched?

SS: Lots of education! We find a lot of

businesses are already examining their environmental impact and that’s doubly so for events and venues, because it’s just so visible. Getting the word out to consumers about how it’s all going to work is key for the events we work with to make sure everything goes smoothly.

ISB: I understand you are members of the Sustainable Event Alliance – please tell us a little about that organistion.

SS: The sustainable event alliance is a group of different organisations, events and businesses that have come together to share ideas, provide info and even ISO registered training for those who are in the sustainable event space. It’s a worldwide organisation and, as such, has a wealth of information on the most sustainable practices and what’s working and what’s not at events everywhere.

ISB: Where do you see Bettercup developing in the next couple of years?

SS: There are so many directions we feel pulled in. At the moment we’re refining our washing and drying process so it’s as efficient, transportable and customisable as possible, as everyone needs a slightly different solution. In the future we’d like to investigate using alternatives to plastic for our reusable cups, and introducing new products and accessories that increase their longevity.

ISB: Finally, what is the #1 lesson you’ve learnt on your journey you’d share with others who aspire to start their own business?

SS: Keep trying, keep asking, and keep connecting with people. You never know who could turn out to be the key person to help you on your journey.

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