On average, music festivals generate 23,500 tonnes of waste, including plastic bottles, food containers, food waste, clothing and abandoned tents.
This year, Michael and Emily Eavis made the historic decision to make Glastonbury Festival 2019 plastic-free.
“We feel that the public very much bought into our campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle and we’re very pleased with the results,” a spokesperson said.
One of the highlights of the festival was the appearance of Sir David Attenborough praising Glastonbury’s decision to go plastic free. The highlight of his speech was the statistic “more than one million plastic bottles will have been saved by the over 200,000 festival attendees”.
Biodegradable confetti was used in performances at this year’s event, including the shows by Years And Years and Kylie Minogue, with roughly 40% of festival-goers traveling to Glastonbury also using public transport a big push has been made to make Glastonbury as energy efficient as possible.
How successful was Glastonbury’s plastic-free commitment?
Despite Glastonbury’s commitment to reducing plastic waste, this did not stop attendees bringing plastic with them and leaving it abandoned across Worthy Farm. People still bringing in throwaway plastic bottles clandestinely, as well as single-use camping chairs that were bound to be left behind. 1,300 volunteers are currently 90% completed the long clean-up operation to deal with all the leftover camping chairs, plastic bottles, blow-up mattresses, flip flops and cool boxes.
Unfortunately, it also emerged that the onsite Co-op sold items in non-recyclable packaging too, which was not in sync with the rest of the festival’s ethos. Most memorably, Co-op’s bags of ice were non-recyclable which were popular as temperatures soared to 28C.
Glastonbury is certainly leading the way in banning plastic from large scale events, but we still have a long way to go if attendees are going to commit to an anti-plastic frame of mind. As we saw with Co-op, brands and sponsors have to commit too for the impact we need to shape the future of music festivals.
If you’re a business looking for help with your summer event waste management, don’t hesitate to get in touch with North West Waste to learn more about what we do.