As part of a major campaign to encourage event and festival organisers to reduce plastics at their events, Raw Foundation and Kambe Events have launched their first Plastic-Free Festival Guide. The free guide, showcased recently at this year’s Green Events and Innovations Conference in London, provides expert and practical advice on what steps can be taken by event organisers to deal with a pressing global concern.
The guide aims to reduce the amount of plastic at festivals, by raising awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. The guide also provides information to promote sustainable re-use solutions and improve recycling practice.
During the last 10 years, global plastics production equalled production of the whole of the 20th century combined. Last year, 288 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally and it is estimated that global plastic production could triple by 2050. On average, nearly 50% of all plastic in the EU goes to landfill, most of it packaging. The majority of plastics for recycling are exported from Europe to Asia and in some countries burning waste in the open air is commonplace. In the UK, 70% of plastic packaging for reprocessing was exported for downcycling abroad in 2011. Plastic waste has become one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams on the planet. Vast quantities of long-term plastic debris and particles can be found littering all the world’s earth and floating in all the world’s rivers and oceans – In 1992, a container ship lost 30,000 rubber ducks off the coast of China. Fifteen years later, some of these turned up on the shores of the UK.
Covering everything from the stark reality about plastics and useful resources to festival-specific advice, tips and case studies, the Guide aims to give organisers a single source reference to the things they need to take into consideration when putting on and managing an event, but without being prescriptive.
Recent successes in the industry such as Shambala’s Bring a Bottle campaign, where festivalgoers, staff and artists were encouraged to bring a re-usable bottle with them, and sales of bottled water were prohibited, have shown that audiences strongly support this issue. This year Glastonbury has launched an initiative to reduce disposable plastics which includes promoting stainless steel bottles. Other events such as Latitude, Open Air St Gallen and many European festivals already use re-usable cups at their bars, massively reducing the amount of disposable plastic produced.
The Making Waves guide is published by Raw Foundation, a Not For Profit committed to raising awareness about the hidden consequences of our everyday stuff, in partnership with Kambe Events (the company behind Shambala Festival), a sustainable event management consultancy, as a free resource.
At the launch Melinda Watson from the Raw Foundation said “Most people remain completely unaware of the devastating hidden consequences of their everyday plastic purchases.” Chris Johnson from Kambe Events and the Shambala Festival added “Recycling is important, but it is only part of the only solution. Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use, and so at Shambala we are examining our supply chain to remove materials with negative impacts.”
The guide is available online as a PDF download or to view online at http://kambe-events.co.uk/campaigns/making-waves/