Ball waste - CUECS' Ball Sustainability Project (CBSP): Fitzwilliam Winter Ball

By Markus Anderljung

Cambridge balls are all about glamour and decadence, but this decadence has a not so pretty backside. We've all seen it. Walking over to the survivors' photo, when the magic night has ended, you see piles and piles of rubbish strewn across the ground. There is plastic cups, plates of half-eaten food, teddy bears and funny hats. Now all of this amounts to a whole lot of rubbish.

Even a fairly small ball like Fitzwilliam Winter Ball with 700 guests is expected to generate up to 254 000 litres of waste, Ibrahim Yates environmental consultant at the ball from the Cambridge Ball Sustainability Project (CBSP) says. Luckily, whatever waste can be recycled will be, thanks to Ibrahim, who hires workers and plans the recycling efforts. Without him and other environmental consultants, he fears, Cambridge balls would run the risk of not recycling any of their waste, seeing as they have no real incentive to nor do they have the knowledge about how to best go about doing the work. With the help of recycling workers and environmental consultants, most of the 254 000 litres waste from Fitzwilliam Winter Ball will be recycled, and hopefully the rest of the balls coming up May Week will too. That way, the balls can stay glamorous and decadent without being unnecessarily wasteful.

CUECS' work at a previous Trinity May Ball

Further Information

Events CUECS have worked with in the past: (think of all the litres of waste they have recycled!)

- 2008-09: Fitzwilliam Winter Ball, Selwyn Snow Ball, Churchill Spring Ball, Murray Edwards, Wyvern's (advice only) and Newnham Garden Parties, King's Affair and Homerton, Hughes Hall, Peterhouse, Trinity, Clare, Queens', Downing (advice only), St. John's, Magdalene, Pembroke (advice + kit only), Trinity Hall, Corpus and Darwin College May Balls.

- 2007-08: Selwyn Snow Ball, Churchill Spring Ball, Girton Spring Ball, King's Mingle Michaelmas & Lent, New Hall Garden Party, King's Affair, Clare, Trinity, St John's, Caius, Trinity Hall, Pembroke, St Catherine's, Sidney Sussex and Darwin College May Balls.

- 2006-07: King's Mingle Michaelmas & Lent, Churchill Spring Ball, King's Affair, Trinity Hall June Event, Trinity, Emmanuel, St. John's, Queens' and Pembroke College May Balls.

- 2005-06: Hughes Hall, Jesus, Pembroke and Sidney Sussex May Balls.

If you are interested in getting involved or joining the mailing list and then working a ball with CBSP, email