German Fest is an annual celebration of German culture and tradition that is held in many cities across the country. One of these festivals attempted to reduce the amount of waste accumulated by introducing reusable, clear, boot-shaped mugs on "Boot Night" during the festival. Reusable mugs are more sanitary and more environmentally friendly than typical paper or plastic mugs. The boots were made of clear plastic, which is important when it comes to controlling underage drinking, as security staff are able to see the liquid in the cups. Each year, signs were posted at the three areas where the boots were sold. Refills were available at most drink stations and were sold at the same price as a regular beer. To promote the mugs, festival staff and others wore "Boot Night" T-shirts. As well, the logos of festival sponsors were printed on the boots, which paid for half of the cost. During the first two years, the boot mugs were actively promoted. One method of encouraging sales was to get the vendors to ask customers whether they would like a boot or a regular cup. In addition, the mugs doubled as a souvenir. It was noted that changing the design of the boot cup every year could motivate people to begin collecting the different designs and thus, increase interest and sales.
During the first year of the program, the boot mugs were sold for a dollar more than the cost of a regular beer. Within the first two and half-hours, all 5000 were sold. Some were even sold empty as souvenirs. 7,500 were sold in the second year when the price increased to two dollars more that the cost of a regular beer. The third year was a sell-out when the boot mugs went back to being sold for just a dollar more than a regular beer. Although the boot mugs were slightly more expensive than a regular beer, the boot mug refills were sold at the same price as beer in a regular cup. Overall, the mugs were very popular and they reduced the amount of waste at the festival by limiting the number of paper and plastic cups used.
Prepared by: Jennifer Higgerty and Jennifer Parker