Glastonbury Festival picks Sheffield steel firms to produce reusable pint cups

Michael Eavis with one of 250,000 steel cups to be used at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. The steel was smelted in Sheffield.
Michael Eavis with one of 250,000 steel cups to be used at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. The steel was smelted in Sheffield.

The organisers of Glastonbury Festival have given their backing to Sheffield steel by picking a city firm to help produce 250,000 cups for use at this year’s event.

The festival’s green initiatives team wanted to reduce the waste caused by hundreds of thousands of paper cups used and discarded by attendees every year.

They challenged Sheffield-based stainless steel water bottle and cup supplier Glogg to come up with a pint cup for use at the festival.

Glogg, working with its Sheffield steel supplier Outokumpu and Birmingham business APS Metal Pressings, came up with a design and put the cups into production. They will be used at this year’s festival, which takes place at the end of June in Somerset.

Festival organiser Michael Eavis said: “I’m told the cup initiative is a bit of a revolution. But for me, the single most important thing was being able to source British stainless steel for the cups from the place where it was invented – Sheffield, and then to take it on to the home of manufacture – Birmingham.”

“Week after week, there’s a story in the national press about jobs in the UK steel industry being put at risk. There’s seemingly no end to the negative slide of this critical industry, and if the jobs, skills and infrastructure are lost they won’t be replaced.”

“We’ve worked on this project over the last three years, which will hopefully encourage other UK businesses to think about how they can support our steel industry during these very challenging times.”

The cups are made of food grade 80 per cent recycled British stainless steel. They will be available for a deposit of £5, and festival-goers will be able to swap their cup for a fresh one whenever they need a refill.

Glogg managing director Helen Smith said: “In 2014 Glogg was set a challenge by Glastonbury Festival’s green initiatives lead, Lucy Smith. Could we develop a stainless steel pint cup to replace the huge volume of paper cups used and discarded at one of the UK’s largest music festivals?

“We then stepped up the challenge. Could the cup be designed and made in the UK?

One of 250,000 steel cups to be used at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. The steel was smelted in Sheffield.

One of 250,000 steel cups to be used at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. The steel was smelted in Sheffield.

“The breakthrough came when we were introduced to APS Metal Pressings in Birmingham. A family company, established for over 45 years, APS have largely focused on making specialist steel parts for the automotive industry. Enthusiastic, innovative and keen to diversify into new markets, APS accepted the challenge to partner with Glogg in developing the pint cup and used their expertise to create a set of tools which can now manufacture up to 80,000 parts per month from their factory in Hockley.

“The project received a further boost when Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis stepped in to lobby a number of UK steel producers to supply the project with recycled steel, smelted in Sheffield. This has allowed us to create a mass-market product; designed, developed and manufactured in the UK from Sheffield steel.

“We’ve achieved a development path, which would have taken far longer and been significantly more expensive if we were working with partners overseas. The quality of the product is exceptional and the pricing competitive.

“I urge other business owners both small and large to take a fresh look at UK manufacturing. It’s ours to preserve.”

This year’s Glastonbury is almost sold out. A small amount of tickets will be available in a resale from 9am this morning (Sunday, April 17).