Single-use plastics have been on the minds of many lately, especially with the federal government announcing their intention to ban them as early at 2021.
Many Canadians are making an effort to reduce the number of drinking straws, water bottles, plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks and fast food containers they use.
Those planning on ordering a beer or cider at Garrison's Backyard Bash this weekend don't have to worry about contributing to the plastic waste problem.
The craft brewery says it has been using 100 per cent biodegradable cups made of cornstarch for about a decade.
Garrison Brewing Co.'s founder Brian Titus says, with the refillable kegs and returnable bottles and cans, the brewing industry generally aims to have a low impact on the environment, but it can be a challenge during live events and festivals.
"When you finish up an event and you look around, there are sometimes literally thousands of these cups laying around or in garbage bags, it kind of makes you sick," he explains. "You look at it and think 'We just had a great time, but look at the waste we created.'"
"It kind of was a no-brainer. It made me feel better, I could sleep at night knowing we're having this gathering and not creating this trail of trash."
The cornstarch cups cost about 20 per cent more than their plastic counterparts, but Titus says it's worth the extra expense.
"They're absolutely fantastic," Titus says. "They're clear, they look like a plastic cup, they're logoed up ... and they will absolutely break down."
He says this is just one of the brewery's green initiatives.
With the rise in popularity of canned beers, Garrison also gives customers 25 cents off their next purchase if they bring back their 4 and 6 pack plastic holders so they can be reused, and farmers take away spent grain to be used as feed.
"We take all the sugars, flavour and colouring out of the barley, but what's left is probably 70 per cent of the value in that grain," he says. "Bob's my farmer, he comes by every Thursday and loads up. Whatever he doesn't take, we turn into dog biscuits."
"It's little things, but it does make a difference."
The 5th annual Backlot Bash goes Saturday at the Cunard Centre featuring Broken Social Scene, with Dave Sampson and Natalie Lynn, in support of the Ecology Action Centre.