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There is no such thing as AWAY


‘Tidy up’, ‘throw it away’ are quite common phrases in the western world’s way of life.  But where actually is AWAY?  Is it on a fire, creating pollutant smoke?  Is it to a landfill bin, poisoning the earth?  Or does it find its way into the river, and then the sea?  To recycleit is one way, but does it actually get recycled?  Does it get up-cycled?  Does it get burned for fuel?


There is clearly lots for us all to understand about the waste (rubbish) and recycling business.  I am hoping that AFO members started some years ago.  We have all got a long way to go.  We have been collecting what we call rubbish for centuries and it has got to stop.  Festivals and events throughout the UK are wakening up to the re-use and recycle revolution.  We simply can’t be the ones that did nothing and left the earth in a mess for the next generation.


So what can we do?  Well here are a few thoughts for you to consider amongst your organising team.

First the easy one – there should be no polystyrene on your festival site at all.

How about in 2018 you ban the use of new plastic carrier bags, plastic stirrers for the tea and coffee, plastic straws (which used to be made out of paper with a wax coating) and throw-away plastic beer mugs.  And by 2019 you started to look at alternatives to cardboard, plastic lined coffee cup– like bring your own and get a few pence discount.

How about by your festival in 2020 you have completely wiped out all the above from your site?

Then by 2021 single -use plastic has gone.  Of course, the big one there is bottles of water. Remember when we used to drink water from a tap.  We     drink water from the tap at home, why don’t we do it on festival sites?  We could – now there is a target for 2021. Tell all your caterers they can’t sell water in plastic bottles.

An alternative could be to position more clean water taps around your site and sell as a souvenir a good quality, hard bottle – aluminium or even a harder reusable plastic.
The important bit being reusable thousands of times.

There is much more that can be done and there is loads of advice out there from organisations such as RAW Foundation; A Greener Festival;

Julies Bicycle many more.



As well as the above, give some really serious consideration to how much red diesel you are using on your site through generators. We clearly need the power and if we are not lucky enough to have main supply, then generators come rolling in. But are they being used efficiently, in the right positions, turned on and off as needed.  The diesel costs you cash, but it is costing the planet a fortune.  Trim it to the bare minimum as soon as you can.  See Powerful Thinking

The world is looking into alternatives right now. The UK is up there with the best, the festival scene could lead the way. We have the opportunity to do something. Only print this page is you think it is necessary and when you have and read it re-use it.  Don’t just throw it AWAY.


There will be a major item on this subject at the AFO Conference 9 - 11 November in Stratford upon Avon.  You really should not miss it.  Major speakers, guidance, debate, action.  Put the date in your diary now and put the costs in your budget.


SH April 2018

Steve Heap: 3rd May 2018 10:42:00

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