At the beginning of November, members of the office team attended the Association of Independent Festivals Congress in Sheffield, where independent festival organisers gathered to debate the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the festival sector.
This year, the theme of the Congress was ‘Under the Sea’, and there were a number of talks, workshops and panel discussions based around the sea, water and how these relate to festivals. A major focus of the 2 days was plastic, following on from the AIF’s Drastic on Plastic initiative that was introduced earlier this year, where 61 member festivals agreed to ban plastic straws from their shows in 2018 and eliminate all single-use plastic on site by 2021.
Kicking off the first day was a passionate presentation from RAW Foundation’s Melinda Watson, who spoke about her research on ‘pointless plastic’ and toxicity in our oceans and her campaigning work to change attitudes towards finding sustainable reusable solutions to single-use plastics.
Photo credit: Everydayplastic.org
Following on from Melinda’s presentation, Day 2 began with a talk from Daniel Webb on his project ‘Everyday Plastic’. In 2017, Daniel collected every single piece of plastic he used over the year – this equated to a shocking 22 x 80 litre bags, and 4490 individual items of plastic. Of the 4490 items he collected, 4177 classed as single-use plastic. Not only this, but he alarmingly discovered after further research and as part of his report, only 4% of the plastic he collected would be recycled at UK recycling facilities.
So how can you help? Well, RAW Foundation has created this handy ‘Festival Goers Guide‘ to reducing your single-use plastic. Tips include:
- Bring your own water bottle – avoid using single-use bottled water by bringing your own stainless steel refillable water bottle.
- Avoid non-recyclable plastic straws, polystyrene takeaway cups, and food containers.
- Opt for Bio-glitter
- Take home and reuse your tent!
We look forward to hearing about what you will change to help reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use, both at festivals and in everyday life.
See you in a field!
Oxfam Festivals Team