THREE OF the festival sector’s largest organisations, promoters Broadwick Live (part of Global) and Festival Republic (FR), plus The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), have announced initiatives to reduce plastic use at their events this summer.
Sixty-two AIF members, including nine Broadwick events, have signed up to its Drastic on Plastic scheme to make their festivals free of single use plastics such as water bottles, cable ties and disposable cups by 2021.
Some AIF members already had plastics reduction schemes such as the 40,000 capacity Bestival and the 15,000 capacity Shambala, which claims to have been plastics-free for several years. FR, meanwhile, has been reducing plastics impact since 2009.
FR says its continued partnership with Greenpeace will now operate an expanded bottle deposit return system at events including Download (cap. 105,000), Reading (90,000) and Leeds Festivals (90,000) and Latitude (40,000). This year all plastic drinks bottles will be subject to a returnable deposit, rather than just the water bottles of previous years.
Measures at Global festivals such as Victorious (75,000), Kendal Calling (26,500), and Festival No. 6 (15,000) include the introduction of refillable steel water bottles, more standpipes on sites, eliminating plastic bottles backstage and encouraging crew to bring refillable bottles.
“I’m very optimistic we can get rid of single use plastics by 2021,” says Alexander Bennett, Broadwick’s director of festivals and operations. “All our festivals have joined The Final Straw minimum standard without us having to push. At the moment gaffer tape and cable ties hold festivals together but our production companies are determined to find alternatives and three years seems achievable.”
Meanwhile, events sustainability business Hope Solutions has released a factsheet, It Doesn’t Stack Up, showing how an estimated 100 million single use plastic cups are thrown away at events annually, while one million reusable cups could save 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.