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Glastonbury paves the way for plastic free festivals

by Sophie Haigh | Read Time: 5 minutes | Jul 16, 2019

Glastonbury 2019 took a major step forward in making festivals green. This year, organisers at Worthy Farm banned plastic from being sold at the event and discouraged the use of single-use tents.

The result was that 99.3% of all tents were taken home, setting a new record for the festival and proving that sustainability is a matter we are starting to take seriously in the live events industry. The plastic free initiative was also a huge success, with zero bottles being sold compared to the plus one million plastic drink bottles sold in 2017.

Event organiser, Emily Eavis, commented in the aftermath of the plastic ban, saying: "The most eye-opening part of the weekend for me was not seeing any plastic bottles in the bins or on the ground. I think people are really starting to understand how important it is to treat the land with respect, and to stop living a disposable lifestyle.”

Pete Paphides, a British journalist and broadcaster who has been going to Glastonbury since 1992, said that this was the first year that there wasn’t the “familiar sound of plastic being crushed under feet” and that this really contributed to it being “the best Glastonbury possibly ever.”

The biggest cheer from the audience also came when David Attenborough appeared on the Pyramid stage, praising the festival’s plastic-free drive and thanking the crowd for their contribution. One of the 175,000 festival goers, Adrian Lake, said Sir David had brought a tear to his eye, adding: “He is the voice of the world’s ­creatures and we need to join him in being that voice also.”

The move towards sustainability is overdue in the live events industry. Earlier this year The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) called for a ban on retailers selling single-use tents, whilst urging festival goers to take tents home with them at the end of an event. According to the AIF, the average tent is largely made up of plastic, weighing approximately 3.5kg – the equivalent of 8,750 straws. The positive news is that they also reported in 2018 that 93% of festivals had ditched plastic straws, whilst 40% had banned the sale of drinks in single-use plastic on-site.

Food and drink waste accounts for 23,500 tonnes of waste produced annually at festival sites, so taking steps to reduce and eventually eradicate the amount of plastic packaging being sold goes a long way in helping the planet.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce plastic from your events, get in touch with our team who will be able to recommend sustainable products and manufacturers.

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