Just days after the UK government proposes banning the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, 61 independent British festivals have pledged to rid their sites of single-use plastic by 2021.
The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) says it wants festival-goers to think about ‘re-use’, not ‘single-use’, and as a minimum, the festivals that have signed up to the AIF’s Drastic On Plastic campaign have committed to banning the use of plastic straws this year. It is hoped that this will extend to other single-use items such as plastic bottles and food trays and glitter in the future.
It is up to each event’s organisers to do what they can to help reduce plastic waste. Cornwall’s Boardmasters surf and music festival for example, will this year implement a re-usable cup scheme, running across all main on-site bars, which will massively reduce the amount of single-use plastic generated. As part of Broadwick Live’s commitment to green policies, all festivals and venues within its portfolio will be encouraging customers to bring or buy refillable water bottles, it will put on extra stand-pipes with access to free drinking water, ban single serve sachets for condiments, plastic straws and polystyrene, and provide eco cups where possible. Specific to camping festivals it will give incentives for customers to keep campsites clean, recycle tents, provide tent rental companies and only use biodegradable glitter.
Other festivals to sign up to the pledge include End of the Road, Boomtown Fair, Standon Calling, Kendal Calling and Bestival.
Paul Reed, AIF’s chief executive, told BBC’s Newsbeat: “Considering the environmental impact of our industry it does feel like it’s really time to take some collective and affirmative action. A three-year target to eradicate single-use plastic is a realistic timetable, but there will be operational challenges for festivals that run on tight budgets.”