As we are now enjoying the very best our summer has to offer, it can only mean that the festival season is well and truly in full swing. Recent festivals have included the Isle of Wight Festival as well as the ever popular Glastonbury Festival. For the first time in years neither of these festivals has managed to sell out all their tickets, however the relatively young (by comparison) Lattitude festival has proved to be more popular that ever. For the first time in it’s history this festival has truly adopted an ethical green mantra, marking a unique change of direction for UK festivals. Although this festival is only in its third year the organizers believe that implementing the festival catering and supplies in an environmentally sound and ethical manner makes the festival highly attractive to the more green minded punter, and aligns with favorably with popular societal environmental trends.
Although the festival serves to highlight the need to place more emphasis on environmental concerns, it proves to be a diverse and highly varied occasion, appealing to very broad range of people. Activities include poetry, comedy, music, as well as all sorts of misc acts to keep the revelers entertained. In my opinion this festival succeeds in bridging the divide between the extreme eco warrior and the casual observer that just enjoys live entertainment and great beer. The difference between these 2 parties could not be more pronounced. Whereas the environmentalist may be single minded in his approach to saving the universe single handedly, the “average Jane Doe” on the street often gives barely a passing thought to these concerns. The planners basically sought to promote more of a middle-ground between the two groups, educating and enlightening the general populous to some of the unseen plights for which they are directly responsible. Promoting this ethical responsibility and encouraging more “environmentally sound living” can only be seen as a step forward to cutting the waste and pollution problem that appears to be growing at an exponential pace.
The planners tried to tackle the waste problem in a number of different ways. For starters all revelers who opted to camp on-site were given a “Campers Rubbish Kit”, which helped participants to separate their waste and waste materials. This addresses a huge problem of festivals, namely the cross contamination of waste materials. The cross contamination means that it is reusable coffee cup extremely difficult if not impossible to re-use or successfully compost the rubbish materials produced during the course of the event. By giving participants the facility to sort their own paper cups, disposable pint glasses and catering supplies it means that there is a far greater chance of the organizers being able to collect properly sorted and recyclable materials at the end of the event.
The Paper Coffee Cups used at events of this nature are a massive problem. This is partly due to the volume of cups used, and partly due to the way in which they are thrown away. By omitting recycling facilities from the sites festival goers have no way to dispose of their rubbish, so it either ends up contaminated with other waste or simple thrown on the ground. It is perfectly possibly to successfully recycle the paper cup, in fact if used correctly and with a bit of environmental responsibility it can be surprisingly green for a disposable one-use item. Once recycled it is not normally suitable for further use as a food product, as these normally require virgin paper as a base product for health reasons, however it can find its way into a range of other catering supplies. The lifecycle of the classic paper coffee cup can be almost infinite! The one exception to this rule is if the material is recycled in such a way so as to remove any contaminants from the raw material, cleaning the raw product of any impurities. Although this is far more expensive to achieve, it does mean that the waste can then be approved for use with food related catering supplies under certain circumstances.
Another focus of the festival was the incentive to re-use the plastic pint glasses and disposable pint glasses given out by the organizers. Visitors were made to contribute a small sum of money for their plastic glass at the start of the event, and encouraged to hold onto them and reuse the tumbler for the whole event. The incentive in this case came in the form of a small rebate on the original price of the plastic glass. Visitors were actually seen leaving with the plastic tumblers from the festival, having not disposed of the item at all. This greatly reduced the quantity of rubbish produced at the event and it was done in the simplest of ways. By adding perceived value to the Plastic Pint Glass visitors were discouraged from simply tossing it away, appealing to their financial minded side which naturally resists the urge to dispose of something they have paid for.
Market traders and Burger van operators were also given similar goals with their catering equipment and catering supplies. They were awarded for the amount of waste they successfully managed to recycle directly from their van straight into their sorted waste. This includes plastic containers, food containers and other catering supplies associated with fast food. Again the rewards were only little; however the effect this had on people’s attitude to waste was surprising.
The organizers also sought to elect “green representatives” at the event who were there to advise visitors on the best place to dispose of their waste, and to point them towards the recycling stations onsite. By promoting this style of green responsibility the direction of the festival was targeted well and truly towards the renewable and reusable energy sources of the future.
The efforts also spread to the web arm of the marketing for the festival, with festival goers encouraged to discuss their thoughts and ideas on the recycling, particularly on the reusable nature of the disposable pint glasses and plastic tumblers. This was simple another way of promoting increased emphasis for the environment in an accessible way that everyone can relate to.
Of course it would be hypocritical if the festival workers themselves were using disposable tumblers and pint glasses behind the scenes and simply throwing them away, so this same recycling idea has also been adopted by the very people who sought to implement it. Reusable Pint Glasses and Polycarbonate Pint Glasses were used extensively by the festival planners to keep waste to an absolute minimum, even to the extent of reusing plastic champagne glasses at the board meetings!
It all goes to show that thinking green does not necessarily have to mean chaining yourself to a bulldozer in the middle of winter. Attitudes such as the ones discussed here can be seen as a sure sign that times are changing and dealing with your waste paper and plastic Catering Supplies in a green and ethical fashion does not have to mean ruining the festival or leaving punters out of pocket come the end of the event.