Ten brands have agreed to embrace reusable containers for sampling. But New Hope expects to expand this year’s pilot program. Find out more.

Douglas Brown, Senior Retail Reporter

March 14, 2024

2 Min Read
Zero Waste Sampling at Expo West

They come bearing disposable cups and plates, forks and bowls, spoons and straws and boxes of sporks. In all, brands attending Expo events over the years and doling out samples have gone through countless materials that are used once and tossed into the trash.

The waste from Expo has long concerned New Hope Network's team. Over the years, the company has taken steps to expand its sustainability footprint, including mitigating the widespread use of single-use vessels for sampling. 

This year at Expo West, New Hope takes a big step toward cutting back on waste. The new Zero Waste Sampling program involved 10 brands in the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace. Each brand used four-ounce stainless steel ramekins to contain samples. After the ramekins are used, they get returned, washed and used again.

This year’s list of participants includes both relatively new brands, including Recoup hydration beverages, and long-term sustainability heroes such as Straus Family Creamery. Founded 30 years ago this month, Straus decided to take part because it has long “championed zero-waste packaging with our reusable glass bottle milk program,” said Joseph Button, the company's sustainability and strategic impact vice president. “Reducing our impact on the environment is at the core of everything we do at Straus, and we are glad to participate in the reusable cup program at Expo West this year.”

These brands participating this year in what New Hope’s anticipates will become an Expo-wide approach in the future:

  • Nepal Tea Collective

  • WAJU

  • Wild Orchard Regenerative

  • Recoup

  • Yaupon Brothers Tea

  • Lotus Foods

  • Humble Potato Chips

  • Big Picture Foods

  • Wildway

  • Straus Family Creamery

“The next phase will be doing this for an entire hall, or a multi-day event,” said Ashley Brand, event manager with New Hope. “We wanted to begin like this. The event is so sample-heavy, and we wanted to make sure brands didn’t run out of cups and containers. But the eventual plan is to increase this program and have the entire event be included.”

The Zero Waste Sampling program involves a New Hope partnership with Weuse, a company that helps businesses implement more sustainable packaging practices.

In addition, New Hope is again working with R-Cup to run no-waste cup programs at all of the New Hope-sponsored events. At New Hope bars scattered through the Convention Center, for example, cups will be reusable.

Outside of the Zero Waste Sampling program and New Hope-catered events, however, waste still takes place—especially with sampling. To help minimize the environmental impact of the waste, Expo West embraces a three-bin waste sorting system, including back-of-the-house staff that go through the bins and sort the waste.

New Hope also works with Second Harvest Food Bank to collect leftover food that gets sent to food banks across Orange County.

“We are thrilled to continue on this path toward sustainability at our events,” said Brand. “This year’s Zero Waste Sampling program will be instrumental in guiding how we move forward with zero-waste strategies in the future.”

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About the Author(s)

Douglas Brown

Senior Retail Reporter, New Hope Network

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