When people come together at community events, it can inspire them to take action and motivate people to change their behaviour. As we see with many of the bigger festivals like Glastonbury and Shambala, this can be an opportunity to show how to reduce waste and positively influence the behaviour of people attending. Traditionally, events have the capacity to generate huge amounts of plastic, disposable waste. And despite growing awareness and recent behaviour change, plastic waste continues to rise and impact our world.
As we gather for community events this summer – whether you are organising one or attending – here are some top tips on moving towards making these events plastic free.
This resource was pulled together using tips from our ever-inspiring friends at the RAW Foundation, who are driving immense change in this area.
1. Think about an overall plastic-free action plan
This image highlights the biggest sources of plastic use at events. Which of these are you still using? What areas can you focus on reducing?
2. Remove, reduce and reuse before recycling
In general, the best way of dealing with waste is not to create any in the first place!
You can encourage and remind event attendees to reuse as much as possible. Why not tell them to bring their own bottles, cups and utensils? This diagram illustrates how to remove and reduce the most common plastic waste at events.
3. Disposable decisions
If there must be some disposable items at events, consider the best options. Disposable items are usually used to serve food and drinks. If they cannot be reusable, why not try a compostable option that has a smaller environmental impact. Compostable serveware can be used with food as it can be composted along with food waste.
Don’t confuse compostable with ‘biodegradable’ plastics (bioplastics), which are not a good option. There isn’t currently the infrastructure to reprocess bioplastics and they become mixed with traditional plastics, contaminating recycling which means it cannot be used.
4. Avoid the most ecologically harmful plastics
If you must have some single-use plastic items, make sure to avoid the worst ones as not all plastics can be recycled in the UK. Use this infographic to understand what can and cannot be recycled. This will help you make informed decisions.
5. Buy groceries, toiletries and other items in bulk. Support your local plastic-free and bulk stores by buying everything you can in bulk with less or no packaging. Buy fruit and veg from local markets where plastic isn’t used.
Other actions you can get involved with:
- Sign the #TaxPlasticPolluters petition – sign and share the RAW Foundations’ #TaxPlasticPolluters petition to call for a tax on single-use plastic producers and demand that they cut the amount they produce and sell by half by 2025
- Take part in community initiatives to tackle plastic waste, such as community litter collections and local beach clean-ups. Search for plastic-free community initiatives on Semble
- Sign up to the Semble Scoop newsletter to receive more useful resources and up to date info on plastic-free initiatives and campaigns
- For more great tips and advice, especially if you’re organising or attending festivals, check out these two brilliant resources from the RAW Foundation: