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Festi-cycle

July 4, 2019

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Festi-cycle! How to do your bit for the environment this festival season…

 

Glastonbury might be over but festival season has only just begun. Did you know that each year music festival’s generate up to 25,500 tonnes of waste? Sadly, only a third of that waste is recycled. Low recycling rates, cross contamination and the use of single use items made from non recyclable materials result in the majority of festival waste being sent to landfill.

 

According to Powerful Thinking’s report, ‘The Show Must Go On’, each festival goer throws away 2.8kg of waste each day they attend, more than double the average person's daily waste production. 

 

Despite this shocking figure, the report also suggested that festivals intrinsically support, create and exhibit cutting edge ideas and creativity; they have captive and ‘switched-on’ audiences who are willing to immerse themselves in the festival experience and buy into the ethos of the events they attend.

 

We’d like to think that these events are therefore THE place to manifest ideas as to how to reduce waste. It’s no surprise that David Attenborough turned up at Glasto last weekend to offer his support and praise the organisers ban on plastic bottles. The UK’s festivals attract younger demographics and so can reach the decision makers of tomorrow.

 

If you’re heading to a festival this summer we’d like to suggest some simple ways that YOU could make a difference:

 

CAR SHARE – Travel typically constitutes around 80% of a festivals total known CO2 emissions. Hitch a lift with friends, jump on the bus, hire a minivan and reduce the number of cars out on the roads. It might not sound like much but this year 3.17million people in the UK will head to a festival. If every car was filled to capacity that would dramatically reduce those emissions.

 

SCRAP SINGLE USE ITEMS – Ditch single use items. Spend that bit more on quality recyclable products to take with you. It could be as simple as taking your own water bottle to refill or a Tupperware for your meals.

 

USE THE CORRECT BINS – Of the 23,500 tonnes of waste produced annually, over 68% ends up in landfill. Quite often, it ends up there because its contaminated, not because it’s unrecyclable. The bins provided at festivals are usually really clearly labelled. Disposing of rubbish in a general waste bin is seen as convenient and straightforward, but it quite often means that waste cannot be recycled due to cross-contamination. When food waste, paper, plastic, and other refuse waste is put together in one container, it makes the materials harder to separate and decreases its value, making it uneconomical to recycle. Do all you can to ensure you’re putting things in the correct bins.

 

DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO TIDY UP AFTER YOU – It is our responsibility to ensure we are doing everything we can as individuals to take care of our environment. Try to take anything you bring with you to a festival, home with you. Festivals aren’t just left with food and packaging waste, they’re left with everything from tents to shoes. Do your bit and take home what you went you went in with.

 

We can totally avoid landfill if we try hard enough. Food waste can be sent to anaerobic digestion facilities. Glass, paper and mixed recycling can be separated, cleaned and baled before being transported for recycling. Even nappies can be cleaned, shred and recycled. As a zero to landfill company, we know it’s possible if we all team together to do our little bit. 

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