Due to thousands of people living in the one space for an entirety of five days there is not only packaging waste but thousands of materials are left behind, which begs the question, should all festivals go eco-friendly?
Glastonbury 2016 Packaging Waste
The clear up after one of the UKs biggest festivals has begun. This year at Glastonbury there was an estimated 800-strong clean-up crew that have been help restore the site back to its natural state. Lets look at the festivals waste in numbers:
In 2016 there was:
- 1,650 tonnes of waste
- 5,000 abandoned tents
In 2015 there was:
- 11 tonnes of clothes
- 6,500 sleeping bags
- 5,500 tents
- 3,500 airbeds
- 2,200 chairs
- 950 rolled mats
- 400 gazebos.
This year the clean-up bill could cost the festival close to £1 million and volunteers are likely to sort through a ridiculous nine tonnes of glass, 54 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard and 66 tonnes of scrap metal.
How to Prevent Waste at Festivals?
Targeting packaging which is one of biggest causes of waste such will make a huge impact on your festivals environmental footprint. It is the little changes that will make a big difference. Take into consideration on how cups and bottles can be used again. One of the best ideas for this is to provide free water taps to encourage festival-goers to re-use bottles.
Scottish Festival T in The Park started a project which gets campers to join their recyclying initiative. Once campers have finished their drink they can take the empty cup to one of the special Cup Recycling Points to collect your 10p.
All the cups that are collected then go into special recycling skips which are taken off-site to be recycled. This means that they are reducing the amount of litter pollution on the site whilst promoting eco policy to their weekend residents.
Reusable bottles are being used at Shambala and Glastonbury to promote recycling. Shambala’s Bring a Bottle initiative has banned the sale of disposable drinks bottles onsite which will make a significant difference when it comes to waste. Similarly, Glastonbury have joined up with WaterAid and Raw Foundation to create a stainless steel bottle which can be used at the festival.
Eco Friendly Events
The Organising Committee behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) applied a waste free initiative at the London 2012 Olympics. The Games was a success and became one of the biggest zero waste event in history:
Re-use: It was not just the packaging that was recycled after the event the majority of equipment was donated charities, athletics equipment is now used all over the UK, tennis balls were donated to Battersea Dogs Home, and timber from staging has been salvaged and used again.
Recycling & Composting: All Food and drink packaging used at the games was recyclable or compostable – and each package was labelled to help consumers sort it into the right bin.
Energy Recovery: The left over waste can also be re-used, and was sent to energy recovery. Materials which can be send for energy recovery include contaminated plastics, shrink wrap, crisp packets, milk jugs, napkins, sugar, salt and pepper sachets.
What Type of Packaging Should Festivals Use?
A packaging supplies company have confirmed that 83% of consumers worldwide say that it is important for businesses to construct programs which are environmentally friendly and 22% of consumers would pay more for an environmentally friendly product.
Although festivals are introducing reusable initiatives it is not always feasible. Therefore, they should use a recyclable type of packaging. Cardboard is one of the most used and recycled materials on earth and by recycling cardboard packaging it will have a ripple effect which will essentially reduce energy.
Corrugated Cardboard is the best type of cardboard to use for eco-friendly festivals as it can be made from 100% recycled materials. Cardboard and corrugated material is also easy to dispose of and can be separated and recycled. Corrugated Cardboard is also biodegradable which means if it is not recycled or reused it can be put straight back into the lands.
Being eco-friendly at Festivals is not just down to organisers, there must be a conscious effort made by festival goers and perhaps fining for unethical disposal. Littering at festivals is not only caused by packaging waste but by left over materials such as tents and sleeping bags. If you are going to a festival and intend to leave your material – consider giving it to a charity instead!
Author Bio: This article was written by Melissa Lang from Glasgow, Scotland. Melissa is a freelance writer with multiple years’ experience working at Festivals and Events.