Skip to main content

Keeping it clean

Washing up stations are an easy way to get people involved in the alternatives to single-use plastics.

What you can do

Provide a mug/plate/cutlery library and washing station at your next event, to make it easy for participants and vendors to reduce single-use plastic.

How you can do it

As well as ensuring vendors don’t use plastic, and encouraging people to bring their own reusable alternatives, many events are now providing a mug, plate and cutlery library plus washing up station. It’s a great solution for participants who forget to bring their own.

You don’t necessarily have to purchase your own brand new reusables, either. Options for creating the library include:

    • hiring from an event supplier
    • borrowing from a club, community group or venue
    • establishing your own utensil library from secondhand shops or tip shops (where waste service providers separate out items for reuse).

Along with your library of reusables, you’ll need to create a washing up station. There are some essentials you should include:

    • Tubs that can be set up in a prominent place.
    • An urn for hot water, to wash mugs in adherence with local hygiene standards.
    • Dish stacking stands, for drying and keeping the space organised.
    • Volunteers to help wash up, or signage to invite participants to wash and return their mugs, plates or cutlery.

If you do rely on the help of volunteers, it helps to create a roster so that they take it in turns. Putting a few volunteers on at a time will encourage them to chat and get to know each other.

Putting your washing up station somewhere visible is a great way to spark conversation at your event and showcase your efforts.

Taking the next steps:

After the event, debrief with vendors, organisers and staff to assess what went well and what can be improved. If possible, ask attendees as well (potentially by asking them to fill out a survey at the event or  in your next newsletter).

Consider amending vendor applications at future events to further reduce single-use plastics.

The Impact

  • Modelling sustainable behaviour can show others how easy it is to have an impact, helping to spread the message to choose to refuse.
  • Making it easy for people to avoid single-use plastics is an effective way of bringing everyone along on the journey.
  • A washing up station can be a great way to bring like-minded people together for a common goal, and establish a sense of community.

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
© Plastic Free July 2019 | Privacy Policy
Website by Media on Mars