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 new (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 appealing to the more ethical minded reveler, and aligns with favorably with popular societal environmental trends.
Although the festival serves to highlight the need to place more emphasis on green concerns, it proves to be a highly varied and diverse festival, appealing to very broad cross-section of society. Activities include poetry, comedy, music, as well as all sorts of variety acts to keep the visitors entertained. In my opinion this festival succeeds in bridging the gap between the extreme eco warrior and the casual observer that just enjoys live bands 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 Joe" on the street often gives barely a passing thought to these issues. The organizers basically seek 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 ever increasing pace.
The organizers attempted to tackle the rubbish problem using a couple of different methods. For starters all revelers who opted to camp on-site were given a Campers Waste Kit", which helped participants to separate their waste and waste materials. This addresses a huge issue with festivals, namely the cross contamination of waste materials. The contamination means that it is extremely difficult if not impossible to recycle or successfully compost the rubbish materials produced during the course of the occasion. By giving participants the facility to sort their own paper cups, plastic tumblers and catering supplies it means that there is a far greater chance of the organizers being able to collect properly sorted and reusable 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 amount of cups used, and partly due to the way in which they are disposed of. By omitting recycling facilities from the sites festival goers have no way to dispose of their rubbish, so it either ends up mixed up with food waste or simple thrown on the floor. 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 appropriate for further use as a food product, as these normally require virgin paper as a base product for hygiene 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 rubbish is recycled in such a way so as to remove any cross contamination from the raw material, cleansing the raw product of any impurities. Although this is far more costly to achieve, it does mean that the waste can then be rubber stamped 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 provided by the organizers. Visitors were made to contribute a small fee for their beer glasses at the start of the event, and encouraged to keep 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 tumbler. Visitors were actually sighted leaving with the plastic tumblers from the festival, having not disposed of the item at all. This greatly reduced the volume of rubbish produced at the festival 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 temptation to dispose of something they have paid for.
Market operators and fast food trailer operators were also given similar incentives with their catering equipment and catering supplies. They were awarded for the amount of rubbish they successfully managed to recycle directly from their stall straight into their sorted waste. This includes plastic containers, food trays and other catering supplies associated with fast food. Again the incentives were only small; however the effect this had on people's attitude to waste was huge.
The organizers also sought to elect green reps" at the festival who were there to help people with 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 pointed 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 event, 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 glasses. This was simple another way of promoting increased concern for the environment in an accessible way that everyone can relate to.
Of course it would be hypocritical if the event staff themselves were drinking from disposable tumblers and pint glasses behind the scenes and simply disposing of them, so this same recycling belief 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 recycling plastic champagne glasses at the board meetings!
It all goes to show that being environmentally sound does not necessarily have to mean chaining yourself to a bulldozer in the pouring pain. Attitudes such as the ones discussed here can be seen as a sure sign that attitudes are changing and dealing with your waste paper and plastic Catering Supplies in a green and ethical fashion does not have to mean cancelling the festival or leaving punters out of pocket come the end of the event.
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