Organisers of more than 60 independent festival across the UK have committed to banning the use of plastic straws on-site this season as a minimum first step – and eliminating all single-use plastic at their events by 2021.
A digital campaign led by the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) will launch on Earth Day – Sunday, April 22nd. It will see the websites of member festivals ‘wrapped in plastic’ for 24 hours.
Visitors to the websites of Bestival (pictured), Boomtown Fair, Shambala and dozens of other independent festivals on that date will be faced with key facts and messages about the extent and impact of our everyday plastic use, along with links to resources from campaign partner RAW Foundation, a UK sustainable development charity dedicated to sustainable consumption through education and behaviour change.
The digital campaign will also confirm the commitment of all participating festivals to the Bestival led ‘Final Straw’ initiative, which will see organisers ban the use of plastic straws on their sites this year, if they haven’t done so already.
Further to that, each participating event will commit to a three-year plan to eliminate all single use plastic on-site by 2021.
From the plastic-wrapped festival homepages, punters will be able to pre-order metal water bottles to make use of when attending events.
“This is one of the most critical issues facing our businesses and wider society.”
Paul reed, aif
AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “It is encouraging and inspiring that so many AIF members have taken this initiative and pledge on-board without hesitation and are taking a collective stand against single-use plastic. This is one of the most critical issues facing our businesses and wider society. By working together as an industry and taking affirmative action, we can make a tangible difference.”
Co-founder of Bestival and AIF Rob da Bank said: “Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ll know the plastic problem is not going away. I’m very proud that the organisation we started with five members 10 years ago now boasts over 60 who have all signed up to eradicate single use plastic in the next couple of years. This is exactly the sort of work the AIF needs to be doing – leading the global charge against essentially unnecessary plastic at all our festivals.”
Melinda Watson, founder of RAW, said: “Plastic pollution has been described as ‘the apocalyptic twin of climate change’. We need to take urgent action on this critical issue. Recycling is important, but it is far from the solution. Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use. We will build on work we have done with Glastonbury and Shambala, working with the festival industry to radically change our relationship to our ‘plastic stuff’.”
Chris Johnson, Co-founder and Operations Director of Shambala Festival, added: “There’s loads that festivals can do to design out disposable plastics such adopting reusable cups, banning drinks sales in plastic and encouraging festival goers to bring re-fillable water bottles. Festivals inspire change in people, so we just need to take the steps collectively and create the new normal – a better normal.”
The full list of signatories to the ‘Drastic On Plastic’ pledge is below.
Barn on the Farm
Belladrum Tartan Heart
Burning Lantern/Brecon Jazz
End of the Road
Festival No 6
Festival of Voice
Fire in the Mountain
Kew the Music
Liverpool Sound City
Oxted Beer & Music
Pete the Monkey
Strawberries & Creem
Underneath the Stars
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