Arsenal save 500,000 single-use plastic cups from being chucked away

Press release
Friends of the Earth urges more football clubs, sports grounds and venues to act on single-use plastic
  Published:  20 Feb 2020    |      2 minute read

Video: Arsenal’s reusable cup scheme in operation

Friends of the Earth is urging sport stadiums and other venues across the UK to introduce reusable cup initiatives after Arsenal revealed today that its scheme - introduced at the start of the season - has already prevented an incredible half a million single-use plastic cups being chucked away. 

A campaign to persuade football clubs to introduce returnable cup schemes as part of a comprehensive set of measures to get rid of unnecessary single-use plastic was launched by Friends of the Earth towards the end of last year.

The campaign group estimated that over six million single-use plastic cups were thrown away in the previous Premier League season. 

A YouGov poll of UK football fans, commissioned by Friends of the Earth for the campaign launch found 84% agreed that Premier League clubs should ensure reusable or returnable cups are used in their stadiums. 

An online Friends of the Earth petition calling on football clubs to act on plastic has already been signed by over 35,000 people, showing the appetite that exists to stop unnecessary plastic waste.

The environmental campaign group is also urging clubs to sign up to a plastic reduction pledge. 

Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

 “We’ve been calling on stadiums across the country to take action on plastic waste, so it’s fantastic that Arsenal’s reusable cup scheme has already prevented hundreds of thousands of disposable plastic cups being landfilled or incinerated. 


“If more football clubs, sports grounds and venues took action on plastic it would have a significant impact on the tide of plastic pollution swamping our planet. 

“It’s great to see Arsenal showing leadership on this crucial issue: Plastic pollution blights our planet and threatens our wildlife. 

“It’s time to give single-use plastic the boot.”

Friends of the Earth is also calling on the government to act on the scourge of plastic pollution by using its flagship Environment Bill – which is due to be discussed by MPs next week – to force a shift away from single-use and throw-away plastics in favour of reusable alternatives.




1. Friends of the Earth visited the Emirates stadium to see Arsenal’s re-usable cup scheme in action, hear what the club is doing and gauge fans’ reaction. The video is available for use by media outlets – provided it is used in its entirety. 

2. Friends of the Earth launched its campaign for football clubs to give unnecessary single-use plastic the boot on 12 September 2019.

3. This season a number of Premier League clubs have introduced re-usable cup schemes and taken other steps to reduce unnecessary single-use plastic.

4. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,075 adults, of which 625 identified as football fans. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 13th August 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).