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Hokitika Wildfoods’ corny beer cups

February 1, 2005

Hokitika Wildfoods’ corny beer cups will get eaten eventually

The weird and wacky Hokitika Wildfoods Festival has an answer to just about everything and this year it includes offering beer in cups made from corn that will turn into compost and be eaten by worms six weeks later.

Imbibers won’t notice that their cups are really corn so they are unlikely to feel the desire to eat the cup they drink from. But who knows what will go down the throats of fearless foodies at the 16th wildfoods festival on March 12 which has long been noted for its extreme foods like bull semen shooter, sauted hare testicles and poached huhu bugs.

What drinkers will hold in their hand is a plastic cup derived from the natural sugars found in the vegetable – a product called polyactic acid (PLA).

Environmentally conscious festival organisers have Vertex Pacific supplying the biodegradable plastic cups and to collect them and take them off to the town’s dump afterwards. Vertex will monitor the cups’ breakdown in a special composting system, a process that should take only 45 days.

“So if locals see men with clipboards hanging around the local dump, they shouldn’t worry that the health inspectors have found something unsavoury. It will only be Vertex watching their cups decompose,” said festival organiser Mike Keenan.

“Vertex is going to supply bins to collect the different sorts of rubbish, including bins dedicated to their beer cups. We are confident all the 19,000 patrons expected at the festival are sharp enough to notice the stickers that tell them which bin to put what rubbish into.”

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival has become increasingly health and safety conscious over the years because huge numbers of visitors can be a bit of a challenge to the 3300 locals to look after.

The legendary West Coast hospitality is never strained but festival organisers do ask patrons to leave only their footprints on the beach and to take away happy memories.

“We know our festival fans care enough about us to abide by the few rules we set: use the designated camping sites; no “freedom” camping; no glass, no bottles, no stubbies; make a driftwood fire on the beach but leave the top strip of beach free; keep out of the sea or the rip will deliver you to the sharks,” Mr Keenan says.

Further information and ticketing are available on


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