How to Reduce Plastic Waste at Festivals and Events

The hot British Summer is in full swing and we're well into the festival season now. If you're anything like me, you'll love soaking up the summer whilst enjoying a bit of music and culture outdoors. I recently joined a 40,000 strong crowd for a music festival in London. By the end of the evening and a couple of beers down, I was so swept up in the excitement of the headliner's encore, that I thought I would be going home with a lingering sense of contentment (and perhaps some ringing in my ears). As the crowds descended into the evening, the feeling quickly disappeared as I was followed by an overwhelming sound of crunching. As I looked back, I was shocked to see a dense carpet of plastic pint glasses strewn on the ground, and being crushed underfoot. Sadly, this scene is all too familiar during the festival season.

At Creative Bloom, we wanted to challenge the issue that has become a norm amongst festival-goers and organisers. There are many actions that we can take to have some fun in the sun in a more environmentally responsible way. We partnered up with 'Surfers Against Sewage' and the 'Paddle Round the Pier' event and some other fabulous local activists to try to tackle the issue.



Our project began last year, when members of Creative Bloom along with SAS volunteers, conducted a waste audit at the 2017 Paddle Round the Pier event. This included a review of food and drinks packaging and promotional material that was being supplied by stallholders, availability of segregated recycling bins and guidelines of how and where waste should be deposited. After conducting this audit, guidelines were created to help to inform stallholders of ways to help reduce the production of plastic waste at the 2018 Paddle Round the Pier event.

Although some stallholders found this task a little too tall, many were up for the challenge. Alongside Surfers Against Sewage we helped to arrange two beach cleans after the event and our very own Stuart Davies and local designer Claire Potter held talks throughout the weekend about how to reduce plastic waste as the Hove Local SAS Representatives. During this year's event, Jimmy from Bloom also held a second waste audit to see ways in which the festival had improved since last year, chatting to some attendees & stall holders and discussing their thoughts on the issue.


These are only small steps that have been taken, but already we have seen a great reduction in the amount of plastic waste created at the Paddle Round the Pier Event. The festival's organisers, stallholders and attendees have shown that with the right attitude, events both large and small are are able to achieve this reduction in plastic waste. We are aware that this is part of a process to try to tackle the issue, but small actions and conversations are a great starting point to help resolve the current plastic problem within Brighton and Hove.

It’s very simple to do - start your own conversation and watch change start to happen.