Time to dispel festival litter myth

This year we've seen some shocking images of the waste left behind after concerts and festivals. We can't allow this to happen in 2019.

Dispel Festival Litter Myth
Dispel Festival Litter Myth

I was fortunate enough to attend several events this summer, including Madness in Alnwick and Kynren in Bishop Auckland.

It made me think about the amount of plastic waste created. We were not allowed to take our own drinks into the Madness concert. All the drinks came in single use plastic cups and at the end of the concert there were thousands of plastic bottles and cups strewn all over the field.

I asked staff where I could find the recycling bin and was told there were no recycling facilities. I contacted the event’s organiser and asked about its recycling policy. They acknowledged saying they would respond as soon as possible, but I’m still waiting over three months later.

Kynren, on the other hand, was immaculate and had clearly marked bins all around the event, including recycling bins. I appreciate the audience are a different type, but it proved events can be environmentally friendly.

One of the problems with festivals is the misconception that by leaving your tent and other camping equipment, you are making a donation to charity. While several charities do take some to redistribute to vulnerable people, around 90 per cent ends up in landfill.

The Show Must Go On report in 2015, based on 279 UK summer music festivals, found 23,500 tonnes of waste were created by the industry and 68 per cent of this went to landfill or incineration. Looking at many images of music festivals this year not much appears to have changed.

Luckily, there is a Festival Vision: 2025, a pledge to try to create a sustainable future for the industry.

Thanks to the Refuge Centre for the photograph following the Boomtown festival in August. The Refuge Centre is also calling for a change in festival mentality.

LitterBugs has applied for community funding through Aviva to set up a website. Most of our activities are on Facebook, but we are excluding many people who don’t use Facebook. If you have time, please vote for us. The link is https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/4-1707

Our next litter-pick is on Sunday, November 4, at 2pm, on the Braid at Amble. You can get in touch with us on Facebook under LitterBugs, or email [email protected]