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Festival Waste - Who's Responsible?

Festival Waste - Who’s Responsible?

As we approach the festival session in the UK, the common theme of waste arises. Pictures appear each year across social media: we’ve all seen them - pictures that look similar to a landfill site, derelict fields with a carnage of tents and waste strewn all across the countryside, a graveyard of discarded tents, with bouquets of discarded plastic cups and food packaging.

Who’s responsible?

Tthe pressure mounts against festival organisers, and across social media festivals are slammed, but is it only down to these people, or should those attending take responsibility too. A sharing of good practice between festival sites and an organized effort is required to link all the needs together with the best services to meet those needs.

There is an estimated 10,000 tons plus a year of waste generated from festivals, tents, cups, food containers and other associated items. Analysing the bulk of the waste from these sites highlights just how much of the waste is recyclable.

Good practice is evident, with some festivals charging an additional fee on the ticket price. This is then returned after the festival when the ticket holder brings their bag of waste out of the site, or to the correct waste location on site. Festivals such as Glastonbury operate green policies promoted on their website and whilst providing over 15,000 bins the facilities are clearly located for people to use to dispose of their waste. The Larmer Tree has successfully hit a 100% recycling rate showing that with a bit of hard work it can be achieved at a festival. One of the big successes has been the introduction of designated pitches for ticket holders, the results of this have shown a far higher number of festival goers taking their tents home with them and not just leaving them behind.

With other schemes such as the tent recovery programme have shown how re-use options cannot just help the festival itself but create a benefit from the waste normally left behind for others. Imagine if every festival throughout the UK implemented similar schemes. With Re-usable pint cups and bio-degradable food packaging, festivals have a access to a range of support to improve their recycling rates, and those implementing these demonstrate it is possible. If every ticket holder bears this in mind, and uses these facilities on offer, the graveyard of tents may well become a social picture of the past.

Ben: 17th Feb 2018 13:00:00

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