I’m a bit of a music festival junky. My husband is in the music industry so we’re lucky to be able to go to a lot of festivals every summer (all for business of course…). One of the things I love most about a music festival is the sight of thousands of people coming together to share a love of music and at the root of that is often a shared love the planet.
I remember walking into the Green Field at Glastonbury for the first time and feeling a little bit teary, I was home!! Composting loos, no waste, like-minded people who love music and the planet as much as I do. I could have spent all weekend there, especially after witnessing the hedonistic horrors of the Silver Hayes area (really not my scene!).
Unfortunately, I witnessed such horrors in my hometown at a festival that I won’t name. I was confronted by a sea of plastic that I couldn’t escape from. It was everywhere – plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic cutlery and not a recycling bin in sight.
The thing is, it’s so easy for a festival to be green, it is quite simply inexcusable, so in this ‘A Festival of Plastic’ series, I’m going to have a look at what festivals can do. Today I’m going to take a look at the demon plastic up.
I have come across a few ways festivals get around the plastic cup conundrum:
- “I am not a plastic cup” cups. I love these, not least for how proud they are to not be plastic. These are are made from renewable cornstarch and you can buy 960 cups for just under £100. This does, however, work out more expensive than a flimsy plastic cup, but it does give out a positive message about the festival’s commitment to the environment.
- Souvenir cups. This a great idea that a lot of folk festivals have adopted. You buy it at the start of the weekend, and it’s a cup for life! It’s better than the rubbishy squishy plastic alternative. They’re usually more than happy to wash it out for you, and you just need to keep hold of it. Of course you end up carrying it round, but as long as it has a fine ale in, I’m not sure folkies mind!
- Cup deposit. Similar to above, but you just pay 50p on top of your first pint, which is refunded when you return your cup or exchange it. This usually works best with the solid plastic glasses, in order for people to value them, but it’s probably my least favourite of these ideas as you end up with a load of plastic cups at the end of it, and I would imagine quite a lot get thrown away.
- BRING BACK THE TANKARD!! Ok, so as you can see from my face, I’m all about the tankard. It’s the original reusable cup, I mean sure they weigh a ton, they’re not terribly ladylike and I believe there may be a slight risk of lead poisoning, but look how happy they can make you!
There are such easy solutions to the plastic cup conundrum, you do have to question why any festival is still using disposable plastic cups.
I fear the answer may be, as I mentioned earlier, down to costs, which I fear may be a misconception that rears it’s head throughout this series of blogs. Being green needn’t cost the earth and through this series I will look at what festivals can do to lessen their environmental impact and still deliver a cost effective and and all round wonderful festival.