Participants are required to register by the given deadline, to have their application approved by the organisers, and to read and sign the terms and conditions of participation. Those participants who want to build a boat as well, this can aonly be launched if approved by the authorities according to the specifications issued by the Plastic Cup ship boat building expert.
The first two activities of the Cup are waste collecting and boat building. Both are preceded by an obligatory orientation session. The next stage is the actual boat race, which lasts several days. The winner is the boat that collects the most point (that is, bottle caps) during the race. The prize is the Plastic Cup, which is made exclusively from recycled PET bottles, some of which were collected from the Tisza.
The Cup itself is taken along the race to be handed out to the winner at the end. Its safekeeping is the responsibility of the Cup Bearer, who is a member of the town or village community where the race stops. The Cup Bearer takes the Cup in his or her own town or village and joins the race for the duration of one day – until the next Cup Bearer takes it at the next stop. At the end of the race the Cup is handed over to the crew of the boat that has accumulated the most points – that is, bottle caps.
The actual stretches to be covered each day are determined by the Organisers, under the supervision of the PET Guide. The list of stops is constantly updated on the website of the Plastic Cup, and participants are also constantly informed. The organisers have the right to change the route and stops during the race.
This Cup is primarily about collecting waste, and only secondarily about speed and agility. Its main goal is to get participants to contribute to the cleaning of the Tisza as much as possible. Thus the building of the boats is not the end of our main activities – quite the opposite, in fact. While they are afloat, the crew of the boats are doing their best to collect as much waste from the river as they can, by all possible means. They take the waste aboard and take it to the next stop, where it is handed over to the organisers, and its quantity is officially measured by the PET Master, who hands out points (caps) in exchange. Extra caps are awarded for waste that the crew was able to incorporate into their boat, thus making sure that it reaches its aim propelled by renewable energy. Points are given per boat and not per person, which allows for changes in their crews if need be. Should there be changes in a crew, it is the responsibility of the captain to make sure new members are registered and they sign the rules and regulations sheet. Apart from the daily task of waste collecting there are extra tasks every day that make it possible for crews to earn extra points.