At Cupanion, our core purpose is to inspire people to reuse. More than anything, we love finding people who share this belief system and helping them accomplish their goal of reducing their environmental impact. This is why we exist as a company.
If you love music, art, and culture, you’ve likely heard of Hillside Festival. Located annually at Guelph Lake in Guelph, Ontario, Hillside Festival is a three-day event dedicated to music, spoken word performances, workshops, and more. Since its inaugural year in 1984, Hillside Festival has grown to become one of the region’s best-known summer festivals.
What makes the Hillside Festival stand out from other festivals is their extensive green initiatives. Music festivals are notorious for their negative environmental impact in the form of waste generation. From plastic water bottles, cups, and dishes to miscellaneous trash left by festival goers, even a small
Hillside Festival, however, wants to change this image. Knowing that the average music festival goes through 20,000 disposable cups a day, the organizers of Hillside go to great lengths to avoid disposable anything. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own dishes or purchase reusable sporks and mugs at the festival, all vendors serve food on sturdy reusable dishes, and volunteers wash and dry dishes throughout the weekend.
What the organizers discovered was that it was difficult to find a reusable cup that was the right fit for the festival. For years, they tried different types of mugs including a biodegradable one made from corn resin, but it melted in the heat. They finally settled on a stainless steel mug but had trouble locating a company that could produce one that met acceptable ethical and environmental standards for production. This is where Cupanion comes in, a project with Hillside to create the perfect Hillside mug.
Our team member Matt reached out to Marie, the Executive Director of Hillside Festival, to gain a better understanding of what they were looking for in a mug and the company that produced it. It quickly became clear that the values of our two organizations were aligned and we went to work to design the first ever Cupanion Hillside Mug. During the first year of our partnership, we developed a single-walled mug that looked great but didn’t keep drinks cool in the July heat. In addition, it had a neoprene sleeve that had a tendency to fall off when attached to a bag, resulting in numerous lost mugs.
In year two, we learned from our mistakes and went back to the drawing board with the goal of creating a mug that would keep drinks cool and could be secured to a bag without fear of loss. Just in time for the festival, our team developed a vacuum insulated, double-walled cup with a silicone sleeve that wouldn’t fall off when attached to a bag. We introduced these mugs at the 31st Hillside Festival and they were a hit. Gone were the days of warm drinks and lost mugs!
Through their partnership with Cupanion and the development of a custom mug, Hillside is able to save at least 35,000 disposable cups from the landfill at each festival. Just imagine how much trash could be diverted from the landfill if other music festivals followed Hillside’s lead!