‘Disposable’ Minoan wine cups reveal human history of waste

A new exhibition on waste at the British Museum will feature ‘disposable’ wine cups from the Minoan civilisation as an example of humanity’s long history of single use items – and the impact of that legacy today.

The 3,500 year-old clay cups have been found in large quantities across Minoan sites on Crete and the other Cycladean islands they inhabited in the Bronze Age.

They were produced for religious feasts and festivals and parties at royal palaces and were a symbol of wealth and luxury due to their being made for just one occasion.

They show that mankind has made items for sheer convenience for thousands of years but their part of the new exhibition, ‘Rubbish and US’ at the British Museum in London sets them against things such as the modern throwaway item – the waxed paper coffee cup.

Julia Farey, curator at the museum, said: “People may be very surprised to know that disposable, single-use cups are not the invention of our modern consumerist society, but in fact can be traced back thousands of years.”

The point of the exhibition, she continued, was to make people confront the reality of rubbish and the impact it has, especially the waste our own societies are producing.

“Human beings have always produced rubbish,” said Farey. “Making some rubbish is an unavoidable by-product of being human. We are tool-using animals. We wear clothes. Nothing lasts forever. It’s in the very nature of our existence that we make rubbish.

“This is a sobering message about scale and consumption and I think we need to find that balance, which humans have never been very good at finding.

“We have thousands of these Minoan, disposable cups and that’s a lot. But today we are making over 300 billion papers cups globally every year. The Minoan civilisation is tiny compared to the global consumerist economy that we have now.

“Now we are doing what human beings have always done but we are doing it on an unprecedented scale with materials that are going to take hundreds, if not thousands of years, to biodegrade.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

International Marketing

iDealwine.com
Paris, France

Sales & Marketing Executive

Vintage Roots Ltd
Heckfield, Hook, Hants

Trade Marketing Manager

Boisset La Famille des Grands Vins
London, UK

Accountant

Lanka Premium Beverages
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Marketing Executive

IWSC & Club Oenologique
London, UK

Sales Manager

Alliance Wine
Glasgow, UK

Sales Account Manager

Spiritrade
London, UK

Sales and Business Development Manager (Spirits)

Protege International Group Cyprus Ltd
London, UK

Business Developer Europe

Vivino
Copenhagen, Denmark or Haarlem, Netherlands

Wine Sales Administration & Customer Service Assistant

Waddesdon Wine
Waddesdon, Aylesbury, UK

Sangiovese Reset

London,United Kingdom
3rd Mar 2020

Washington State Wine

London,United Kingdom
10th Mar 2020

Prowein 2020

Düsseldorf,Germany
15th Mar 2020
Click to view more