A Hurricanes fan was let down in more way than one when his team lost against the Jaguares at Westpac Stadium on Friday.

Mick Frawley attended the Super Rugby match in Wellington, and as normal, went to collect a round of beers for his friends.

But when Frawley was presented with a plastic 4-cup holder, and charged $1 for its use, two questions sprung to mind: Where had the cardboard trays gone and could he return his tray at the end of the game and get his money back?

"First of all, they used to have cardboard ones so I asked where they had gone – but the person behind the counter didn't know.

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Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"Then I said, well for $1 is it refundable - as at other sports events with cups that you pay for, you can get your money back at the end if you return it.

"I thought if I return it and it is not damaged, then they can reuse it, but he said that is not what we do."

Frawley said he was shocked by the ill-considered change, and its disregard for the environment.

"It is not about the $1, but it's ridiculous because they should be re-used," he said.

"At the end of the game people were stamping on them and squashing them and putting them in any old bin, which is not good for the environment.

"I did check that it was recyclable plastic, but even recycled plastic takes 15-20 years to break down. When they had the cardboard it worked really well, as cardboard breaks down in about a year."

Frawley said he took his tray home and plans to re-use it at other sporting events, but he wanted to see a policy change at the stadium.

"It would be really interesting to find out their rationale behind it, because they have gone from cardboard - which is more environmentally friendly - to plastic, and then they are charging people for it.

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"It just seems like a money gathering thing and they haven't put much thought into it," he said.

"What I would like to see, and what they do at Hagley Park, is little kids pick up the plastic cups at the end of the day, they get reused and the kids get paid a couple of dollars for collecting them," he said.

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust chief executive Shane Harmon said the new charge was designed to encourage consumers to be more conscious of their usage and reuse the trays.

"We are currently undertaking a review of all packaging and have been exploring a range of new products and waste processes," he said.

"We expect to be implementing some changes later this year."