Meet the man changing the game in the fight against single-use plastic

Eminem's performance at Wellington's Westpac Stadium garnered rave reviews but when the show was over some eagle-eyed fans were disappointed by the mess left in their wake.

A sea of plastic cups discarded by the standing half of the 46,000-strong crowd were scattered across the field, revealing the sizeable waste abandoned after an event.

Concert attendee Tim Dorrian likened the scene to that found in a country where nobody pays attention to waste.

"It was like a landfill, this thick layer of plastic across the ground. Just outrageous," he told Newshub.

Mr Dorrian posted a video of the cups lying on the ground to social media which was viewed more than 65,000 in just a couple days.

More than 160 people commented on the video, one person calling the sight "unbelievable for 2019" and another simply labelling the mess "terrible".

The concept is simple - Mr Everton partners with an event and swaps all the disposable cups for Globelet cups.
The concept is simple - Mr Everton partners with an event and swaps all the disposable cups for Globelet cups. Photo credit: Supplied.

One man has dedicated his time to fighting pollution and is on a mission to end single-use waste, despite an indifferent point of view in his younger years.

Growing up on a farm in Palmerston North, Ryan Everton never recycled. His family didn't even have a rubbish bin.

Scraps went to the pigs and plastic wrap was lit on fire by his father every Sunday morning with any other paper waste.

In 2012, Mr Everton was in his second year of law school, and had already started five businesses. All of them failed.

His life changed direction when he met a man named David who had spent the last 20 years of his life working directly with Apple mastermind Steve Jobs.

One day he said to Mr Everton: "Ryan, anybody can start a business, it will be hard work, why not do something that makes the world a better place and makes money rather than something that just makes money."

Mr Everton says the "magic of Globelet" is the deposit system. The first drink includes a deposit/bond for $3. The customer then uses the product and gets the $3 back when it's returned.
Mr Everton says the "magic of Globelet" is the deposit system. The first drink includes a deposit/bond for $3. The customer then uses the product and gets the $3 back when it's returned. Photo credit: Supplied.

The Levin-born innovator was inspired and at 19 years old, went on to have his first 'eureka' moment.

He was looking the piles of plastic cups surrounding him at a rugby game when an idea of how he could make a difference came to him.

"Why were we serving drinks in single-use cups and just throwing them on the ground?"

Within three months Mr Everton founded Globelet, an initiative which creates reusable systems for events and cities.

Ex-All Blacks coach Laurie Mains and Forsyth Barr stadium became his first clients. Today he has initiatives spanning across coffee cups, bottled water, washing systems, wine glasses and recycled lids.

Everton's company is about to enter the United States to attempt to end single-use plastic across stadiums, cities and events after already implementing the strategy nationwide and throughout Australia.

The cups are not refilled, they are swapped over the bar for a fresh cup, the cups are then returned their factories for washing.
The cups are not refilled, they are swapped over the bar for a fresh cup, the cups are then returned their factories for washing. Photo credit: Supplied.

Ninety-five percent of every festival and major events in New Zealand have made the change to reusable and are disposable free.

Mr Everton is pioneering new developments at every turn Globelet takes, spending millions on new technology to end single-use plastic.

The company is also working on an algae technology so whenever one of the products ends up in the ocean it becomes algae again within two to four hours.

"This will mean we continue the reuse revolution and can still save plastic from the ocean," he told Newshub. 

Globelet has also designed a reusable bottle of water made of recycled coca-cola lids, that will be traceable and are the first to release a dishwasher safe plastic bottle that comes filled with spring water.

This allows the sale of bottled water but the bottle is reusable and refundable.

Their washing facility will soon feature a machine that can turn water from any source into 100 percent clean drinking water.

Globelet went from selling single-use disposable cups to selling Globelet reusable bottles and coffee cups.
Globelet went from selling single-use disposable cups to selling Globelet reusable bottles and coffee cups. Photo credit: Supplied.

"We can take water from any river or stream and instantly make it cold and 100 percent clean. This will help us change the world."

They are about to open a large scale washing centre in Auckland that can wash and dry thousands of pieces of reusable packaging to support the large scale concerts at Mt Smart and Western Springs.

Their coffee cup design is linked with technology that can enable them to scale into airports, shopping centres and large stadiums.

"This means we have the solution to stop millions of single-use coffee cups and bottles of water from the landfill without changing human behaviour or costing large amounts of money.

"It is a game changer," Mr Everton says.

He says his cups could save the Westpac Stadium money, reduce waste and make for a better fan experience.

The venue is one of many around the world keen to reduce single-use plastic and looking at alternatives available.

As the cups are leased on a deposit system, it ensures that the vast majority of cups are returned to Globelet for washing and means no cups are left on the ground.
As the cups are leased on a deposit system, it ensures that the vast majority of cups are returned to Globelet for washing and means no cups are left on the ground. Photo credit: Supplied.

CEO Shane Harmon told Newshub the stadium is looking at three main options; using an external company to manage a reusable programme, operating a reusable programme in-house and exploring compostable options.

He said they have seen reusables work well for festivals but finds they are challenging for large concerts, particularly when there's 24,000 on the field.

"Returning cups after a band takes the stage is a logistical challenge. And we see rigid plastic cups on the floor as a safety issue."

The stadium aiming to complete an assessment mid-year, and aims to have a solution in place the next time a concert rolls around.

As transitions are rolled out to keep up with the growing expectation to responsibly do away with plastic pollution worldwide, Mr Everton is encouraging consumers to make careful choices and be weary of 'greenwashing' - companies making money out of trying to be green.

"For 40 years the waste industry said they were recycling, and in 40 years only 14 percent was recycled.

"Now we have these compostable food packaging companies doing the same, and tricking people into thinking 'compostable' is good.

"Compostable packaging made in Taiwan and shipped to New Zealand for one single use is not better than recycling."

Newshub.

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