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No more single-use plastic at 60+ UK festivals after 2021

AIF member events have pledged to eradicate single-use plastic at their events by 2021, following a ban on plastic straws that starts this festival season

By Jon Chapple on 19 Apr 2018

Bestival/AIF co-founder Rob da Bank

Bestival/AIF co-founder Rob da Bank

The organisers of more than 60 independent UK music festivals have committed to eliminating all single-use plastic at their events by 2021.

Following on from Live Nation/MAMA’s confirmation earlier this month that plastic straws are to be phased out at the Great Escape, Wychwood, Lovebox, Citadel and Wilderness, 60+ members of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) have announced plastic straws will similarly be outlawed on site starting this summer, as a first step to a full-scale plastic ban by three years’ time.

The AIF campaign is timed to launch on Earth Day (Sunday 22 April), and will see the websites of member festivals ‘wrapped in plastic’ for 24 hours, with the homepages of Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Shambala and dozens of others overlaid with key facts and messages about the extent and impact of everyday plastic use, along with links to resources from campaign partner RAW Foundation.

AIF says the core message of the campaign is “re-use not single-use”, and represents the start of a “firm commitment from the wider festival industry, with positive talks underway with various festival membership organisations in the UK and across Europe, with the aim of engaging hundreds more festivals to commit by the end of 2018”.

Other signatories to the AIF ‘Drastic on Plastic’ pledge include ArcTanGent, Standon Calling, Festival №6, Y-Not, Truck Festival, Tramlines, Just So Festival, Field Day, Oxjam, End of the Road and Boardmasters.

“We will work … with the festival industry to radically change our relationship to our ‘plastic stuff’”

Paul Reed, CEO of the newly independent AIF, comments: “It is encouraging and inspiring that so many AIF members have taken this initiative and pledge on board without hesitation and are taking a collective stand against single-use plastic. This is one of the most critical issues facing our businesses and wider society. By working together as an industry and taking affirmative action, we can make a tangible difference.”

“Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ll know the plastic problem is not going away,” adds Bestival and AIF co-founder Rob da Bank. “I’m very proud that the organisation we started with five members ten years ago now boasts over 60 who have all signed up to eradicate single use plastic in the next couple of years.

“This is exactly the sort of work the AIF needs to be doing – leading the global charge against essentially unnecessary plastic at all our festivals.”

Melinda Watson, founder of RAW, says: “Plastic pollution has been described as ‘the apocalyptic twin of climate change’. We need to take urgent action on this critical issue. Recycling is important, but it is far from the solution. Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use.

“We will build on work we have done with Glastonbury and Shambala, working with the festival industry to radically change our relationship to our ‘plastic stuff’.”


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