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MAKING WAVES Global lessons to inspire local action




If you are passionate about saving resources, greening your event, promoting sustainable alternatives and contributing to a positive future... GET INVOLVED!



INTRODUCTION Since the dawn of civilisation, Festivals have been places where people step out of everyday life, play, learn, share ideas and become inspired. The last 50 years of the British festival has provided space for new genres of music, new art forms and contemporary political and environmental issues to be expressed and explored, over and above the opportunities for fans to be inspired. The unique festival experience offers organisers the opportunity to make a positive change in society in a way that many other sectors can only dream of. It is estimated that one in six UK adults have attended a UK Summer Festival or live music event, and there are now over 500 summer music festivals in the UK alone. All festivals have environmental footprints, by consuming energy, water, food and materials, and producing waste and carbon. Smarter, more sustainable use of resources such as green travel initiatives, recycling waste, and managing energy and water more efficiently, reduce a festival’s footprint and often cost little to implement, and in many cases can reduce overall costs..

CONTENTS PLASTIC - THE FACTS PLASTICS AT FESTIVALS THE GUIDE: How can we reduce plastics at festivals?


4 10 12

Best Practice and Innovation






Within our current linear system, the impacts of the supply chain and the materials that products are made from are less often considered beyond the event itself. The embodied energy in materials, the impacts of manufacturing processes and what happens to the products after their use are significant aspects of their environmental and social impact. Whilst the use of certified timber is a well-established practice and food sourcing has become a more prominent issue, other materials are often not considered in depth or within a circular system. 1


MAKING WAVES Plastics have revolutionised our world – but how much do we really know about this wonder material? Plastics have become part of our daily lives, and have given us great gifts in medicine and modern advancements. However, the production, use and disposal of plastics cause widespread ecological damage across its life-cycle. Inadvertently, the very properties that make it remarkably useful also make it a persistent pollutant, especially in the marine environment. This is having a dramatic impact on ecosystems, human health, wildlife and the climate. Making Waves is published by Raw Foundation, a Not For Profit committed to raising awareness about the hidden consequences of our everyday stuff, in partnership with Kambe Events, a sustainable event management consultancy, as a free resource.


We must see the problems, we must think that in spite of everything, it is possible to solve these problems. We must find solutions." MANZINI, 2008

There is a bewildering amount of information about plastics around at the moment, and it is often difficult to get a clear sense of the best decisions to make. This guide provides background information on the issues arising from plastics use and practical advice for festival organisers on how to implement prevention strategies for positive long-term change. Although the case studies throughout are drawn primarily from UK festivals, they illustrate examples of good practice relevant to the wider event and international festival community. Alternative consumption and collaboration are powerful tools for change, usually driven by public opinion and purchasing trends. By adopting the simple, affordable and effective actions outlined in this guide, your event can play a part in improving human health, protecting precious marine wildlife and the long-term sustainability of our ecosystems.


What is this Guide and who is it for? This guide aims to reduce the amount of plastic at festivals, by raising awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. The guide also provides information to promote sustainable re-use solutions and impove recycling practice.

This Guide Offers: Clear information about plastics Tips for reducing plastics at events A glossary of terms to help general understanding Case studies Links to useful resources and inspiring videos about plastics

It will help you to: > Better understand the issues caused by using plastics > Improve your green reputation as a leading sustainable event > Save valuable resources by reducing plastic waste over the short and long term > Attract artists and partners that want to support sustainability > Be part of a global movement towards a sustainable future > Potenially save costs through new approaches and smarter use of resources

In this world it is truly awesome how lucky we are, yet we keep hurting the planet in ways nature could never have come up with...� NEIL YOUNG, 2012

It is for anyone involved in the organisation of festivals, regardless of the size of your festival, the nature of your audience or your role. We hope to raise awareness, inspire action and creative rebellion to reduce plastic consumption. So, if you are a festival organiser interested in a plasticfree future (or indeed keen to reduce your waste volume) this guide is for you!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Special thanks are due to Chris Johnson, Director of Kambe Events, for his editorial support, and to Alison Tickell, CEO Julies Bicycle; Claire O’Neill, A Greener Festival; Ed Cook, Ed Cook Consulting and Peter Harper, Centre for Alternative Technology for their valuable feedback in developing this guide. 3


PLASTIC - THE FACTS What’s the problem with Plastic? Nothing better illustrates our throwaway lifestyle and waste problems than plastic. It is everywhere. The production, use and disposal of synthetic plastic has become one of the most serious environmental and human health problems facing us today. In this chapter the problems associated with plastics are outlined.

QUANTITY - Plastic is everywhere The extent to which man-made plastics, in their relatively short history, have pervaded our lives is astonishing. It can be made into virtually anything, is practically everywhere and is growing at an alarming rate. As a result, vast quantities of long-term plastic debris and particles can be found littering all the world’s earth and floating in all of our oceans.

Last year, 280 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally. Less than half of it was consigned to landfill or recycled. Of the remaining 150 million tonnes, some may still be in use; some has been burned in the open air; the rest litters continents and oceans. If current consumption rates continue as expected, the planet will hold another 33 billion tonnes of plastic by 2050. This would fill 2.75 billion refusecollection trucks, which would wrap around the planet roughly 800 times if placed end to end.1 Studies of the oceans gyres have shown concentration of plastic to 2 plankton at a ratio of 6:1. Ocean plastic is an area of continuous and developing research, but it is clear that disturbing the base of the food chain will certainly have ecological repercussions, and it is worth noting that phytoplankton are responsible for at least half of the oxygen on earth.

Find out more on YouTube or TED: > Story of Stuff: Story of Bottled Water > Sir David Attenborough: Plastic Oceans > Chris Jordan: Running the numbers 1 Rochman, C.M. et al (2013) Classify plastic waste as hazardous, Nature 494, pp 170-171.

2 Moore, C.J., Lattin, G. L. and Zellers, A. F. (2005) Density of plastic particles found in zooplankton trawls from coastal waters of California to the North Pacific Central Gyre.



TOXICITY - polluting ecosystems, our food and ourselves The toxicity of plastic is causing widespread environmental damage and pollution across its life-cycle. It is made from and transported by non-renewable fossil fuels (oil). It contains hundreds of highly toxic persistent chemicals, damaging to both human health and the environment. During use, many common plastics (e.g. PET water bottles) can leach toxic chemicals from the plastic into the water it contains, especially in the heat 3 and even under normal conditions. Millions of tonnes of plastic are broken down by sunlight into smaller and smaller polymers that are widely dispersed in water. These act like a sponge, attracting other toxins to them to extreme levels and pass up the food chain to contaminate entire ecosystems, and the food we are eating. A recent study found that one in six fish in UK waters contained plastics in their bodies.4

The chemical ingredients of more than 50% of plastics are hazardous.5 Many constituents (e.g. phthalates and dioxins) are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and cause an array of adverse health effects even at low doses.6 Recent laboratory studies provide the first clear evidence that microplastics could cause harm and show that this could result from both the physical presence of ingested plastic and chemical transfer. 7 The transfer of additives in polyvinylchloride (PVC) from medical supplies to humans indicate that these chemicals can accumulate in the blood. Microplastics also found as fibres, traced back to synthetic textiles like polyester in clothes, can release up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they are washed. These fibres then transfer from the stomachs of organisms to their circulation system and accumulate in their cells.8 In 2013, scientists from the US, Japan, and the UK called for the most harmful plastics to be re-classified as hazardous.9

Find out more on YouTube or TED: > Charles Moore: Seas of plastic > Sylvia Earle: Protect our oceans > Chris Jordan: Polluting Plastics > Chris Jordan: Midway 5



here today, still here tomorrow The constant modification and updating of products, where cost and convenience is of primary concern, forms the basis of our economic structure and throwaway culture. The whole system is premised on increasing economic growth and levels of consumption. The full value chain of products – the so-called externalities – are not built into the product’s financial flow and are borne elsewhere, often by the tax payer (e.g. the costs of ill-health caused by pollution).

The short-term convenience and low cost of single-use plastic products carries a particularly inconvenient truth. Explosive sales in plastic products with a short life span encourages waste on a vast scale. Design for disposability has led to a throwaway consumer culture, disconnected from environmental cause and effect. At the heart of the problem is one of plastic’s most valued properties: its durability. Plastics can take a minimum of 500 years to degrade. Ironically, when combined with a throwaway culture, this means that we are using materials that are designed to last, for short-term use. 6

3 4

5 6 7 8 9

Food and Water Watch (2007) Take Back the Tap Report. Lusher, A. L, McHugh, M. and Thompson, R. C. (2013) Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 67, Issues 1–2, pp 94–99 Lithner, D., Larsson, A. and Dave, G. (2011) Sci. Total. Environ. 409, pp 3309–3324 Ashton, K. and Salter Green, E. (2006) The toxic consumer: How to reduce your exposure to everyday toxic chemicals. Bath: Impact Publishing Ltd. Browne, M. A. et al (2013) Microplastic Moves Pollutants and Additives to Worms, Reducing Functions Linked to Health and Biodiversity, Current Biology, Volume 23, Issue 23, pp 2388–2392 Browne, M. A. et al (2011) Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks, Environ. Sci. Technol. 45 (21), pp 9175–9179 Rochman, C.M. et al (2013) Classify plastic waste as hazardous, Nature 494, pp 170-171


RECYLABILITY The majority of plastics are rarely recycled in a closed loop. Most are buried in landfills where chemicals can leach from the plastic into surrounding habitats and water table. Most recycled plastics are exported from Europe to Asia and in some countries burning waste in the open air is commonplace. Common malpractice and appropriate clean recycling and recovery systems are not keeping pace with the sheer quantity or mixture of plastic produced, releasing toxic emissions or dust into the air and soil. Furthermore, plastic degrades in quality through the recycling process (downcycling) and can only be recycled a finite number of times before the polymers integrity is compromised and no longer useful. It then has to be taken to landfills. In the UK, 2,535,000 tonnes of plastic packaging was consumed in 2011, 1,194,420 tonnes was from households. Only 440,401 tonnes was reported as collected for recycling. This included 316,054 tonnes of plastic bottles. 52% of plastic bottles were collected and the remaining 48% of plastic bottles that were not collected for recycling, cost over ÂŁ24 million to dispose of.10

Find out more: > Trashed > Friends of the Earth

Source: Trashed, 2012

Resource Consumption Aside from the obvious problem with using something once, or very few times and then discarding it, plastics are a resource intensive material to manufacture, even more so than some metals. UK Carbon scores in kg CO2 equivalent per tonne of material Solid board

1,100 - 3,900 Aluminium


Corrugated board

1,100 - 2,200 LDPE plastic


Fold boxboard 1,100 - 2,200 HDPE plastic


Beverage cartons

2,000 - 2,700 PP plastic

2,500 2,900


570 - 880

PET plastic

3,500 4,400



(E)PS plastic

3,500 4,100

Source: DEFRA, 2009

10 RECOUP (2013) UK Household Plastics Collection Survey.

Available at:






PVC 04

PE-LD 05



Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE)

Soft drink and water bottles, salad dressing bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter and jam jars.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Water pipes, buckets, milk and juice bottles, washing-up liquid, shampoo, bath and shower gel bottles, bleach bottles and shopping bags.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Blister packaging (non-food items), cling films (non-food use) and children’s and pet’s toys. Pipes, fittings, window and door frames (rigid), thermal insulation (foam) and electric cables.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

Frozen food bags, squeezable bottles (e.g. mustard), carrier bags, bin liners, packaging films, cling film and flexible container lids.

Polypropylene (PP)

Yogurt pots, margarine tubs, straws, crisp packets, microwaveable ware, kitchenware, take-away containers, disposable cups and plates. Nappies, carpet fibres and vehicle upholstery.

Polystyrene (PS)

Egg cartons, packing peanuts, disposable cups, plates, trays and cutlery and disposable take-away containers.

Other (polycarbonate or ABS)

Beverage bottles, baby milk bottles, CDs, glazing, electronic apparatus, lenses, glasses, headlamps, riot shields, aircraft glazing instrument panels.



PS 07




* In 2011, the UK exported 70% of plastic packaging for reprocessing and downcycling, increasing the transport and energy associated with recycling. * Source: WRAP and Valpak (2013) PlasFlow Report



Types of Plastic – what’s good or bad? Many, but not all, plastics have a code on the packaging. The two most commonly recycled plastics in the UK are PET (1) and HDPE (2). Many other plastics are not recycled and the current labelling system has no category for bioplastics. Bioplastics compare favourably to traditional plastics because they may be made from renewable sources. However the infrastructure for collecting and reprocessing these materials is currently not established. Furthermore, the modern systems for separating plastics by type are not able to detect bioplastics easily, which causes contamination of otherwise good quality recycling.

Bioplastics vary widely in their base material and their ability (or inability) to biodegrade, and questions have also been raised over potentially harmful additives, colourants and plasticiers which are used to produce bioplastics. The most common bioplastics include: Cellulose Acetate (CA) wood or cotton Poly-beta hydroxyl butyrate (PHB) sugar or lipids

Polyhydroxyalkanoatesas (PHA) sugar or lipids

Polylactide Acid (PLA) made from corn, but can be made from a variety of plants Starch-based polyesters corn, rice etc. Bisphenol A (BPA)-free plastics are often considered to be the safest option in terms of potential impact on human health. However new research raises concerns that BPA-free plastic products may release hazardous compounds after undergoing wear and tear, such as through dishwashing, microwaving, or exposure to sunlight.11 Recycled PET (rPET) can be considered marginally better due to having been made from recycled materials 11 Chun Z. Yang, C. Z. et al (2011) Most plastic products release

estrogenic chemicals: A potential problem that can be solved, Environ Health Perspect., 119 (7): pp 989–996



PLASTICS AT FESTIVALS What we are using and why In the temporary world of festivals, convenience is a crucial factor. Being able to sell large quantities of drinks quickly in a safe disposable plastic bottle or cup has become the norm. It is often perceived as the only practical option, and vital for maintaining revenues. Many of the products and promotional materials used on event sites are also made from plastics, and many waste management approaches use singleuse plastics to collect waste. Where we use plastics at festivals is fairly obvious. Eating, drinking and promotional products tend to be most prominent: > > > > > > > > > > > 10

Beer cups Water and drinks bottles Badges and Wristbands Clothing Signage Stickers Laminating Promotional items Cable ties Tents and Gazebos Plastic refuse bags

90% of festival-goers think that festival organisers should be responsible for minimising the environmental impact of festivals and 87.4% think that waste is the largest impact.� (A Greener Festival & Bucks New Uni, 2012)

What are the problems for festivals? Litter: A significant amount of waste thrown on the ground at festivals tends to be plastic pint cups and single-use plastic water bottles, creating a less desirable environment for the audience, and incurring cleaning costs. Resources: All plastic pint cups, water and beverage bottles are manufactured from a non-renewable resource derived from oil. Low recycling rates: Confusion about types of plastics and recycling methods, as well as the availability of recycling facilities means that plastics and the use of bioplastics in particular in recent years, can often not be recycled at events.


The vibe: Behavioural studies suggest that disposability can promote a lack of individual responsibility for the shared environment, which may have implications for the atmosphere, the potential for damage and overall costs for managing the event and clean up. Image: Far beyond beach cleanups, plastics have become a hot topic in the media and at EU policy level recently, with striking images of oceans full of plastic debris and rewards for inventions that offer opportunities for removing plastics from the water.

FOCUS: BOTTLED WATER Each year in the UK we consume 3bn litres of bottled water and 10bn bottles are sent to landfill. The success of marketing obscures the absurdity that bottled water typically retails at 500 times the cost of tap water, and is not necessarily ‘healthier.’ 11


How can we reduce harmful, single-use plastics without compromising events? Whilst there isn't a one size fits all for all types and scale of events, there are clear improvements which can be made by following the information in this guide. The best way of dealing with waste is not to create any in the first place. The waste mantra, AVOID, REDUCE, REUSE and lastly RECYCLE is essential guidance and a great start for planning how to deal with your plastic waste.

AVOID Aim to avoid using plastics which are most ecologically harmful and/or not recycleable. Ask suppliers for alternatives to plastic-based products. Explore more sustainable, less resource intensive and less toxic options. If they don’t currently exist and/or are not competitively priced, buyer interest and demand will likely change this. Ban disposable plastic bottles at your event, and encourage people to bring their own re-usable bottles and/or sell them. 12

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world�


Ask your waste contractor to consider not using bag-lined bins in their waste systems where practical e.g. providing re-usable bags or containers to traders and not using lining bins.

REDUCE & REUSE Consider using re-usable cups. It is standard practice for events across Europe,* with more than 10 million cups being used annually in France alone. Events in the UK which have used re-usable cup systems with deposits have experienced strong audience feedback at no extra cost in delivery. * See case studies Reduce the number of types of plastic used at your event to maximise the potenial for sucessful recycling.

RECYCLE Talk to your waste contractor about how to manage unavoidable plastics, and ensure that plastics are separated and recycled.


What’s the best type of drinking water bottle? MATERIAL




Energy intensity (GJ/t)




Embodied * energy (MJ/kg)




Embodied * carbon





Toxic (inc. use)

Possible toxic liner



Medium re-use

Medium re-use

High re-use



100% recyclable

100% recyclable



More expensive

Most expensive



Durable (but may dent)

Most durable


Plastic taste

Metallic taste





Heavier weight

Dishwasher safe

Leaches chemicals



Microwave safe






* Source: Hammond, G. and Jones, C. (2011) The Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE)



SOME TIPS FROM UK FESTIVALS Use non-PVC banners or eco-foam board.

Phase out disposable plastic packaging from your supply chain.

Ban the sale of bottled water at your event or promote re-usable bottles.

Use compostable packaging made from paper, card or wooden recyclables as above, or bioplastics* such as potato starch or corn starch if disposables are unavoidable.

Provide crew with re-usable bottles. Ban all disposable plastic serveware (plates, bowls, boxes, cups, cutlery, stirrers and straws). Serveware is generally not easily recyclable due to contamination from food or drink. Use serve-ware that is compostable* with food and drink, made from paper, card or wooden compostables. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) uncoated or starch-based coated papers and cards, unprinted or printed using waterbased inks is preferable. Wooden serve-ware from sustainablymanaged sources are also suitable. * This is different to ‘biodegradable’, which is not advisable. It is essential to use the correct serve-ware as small percentages of contamination can lead to large amounts of waste going to landfill instead of being composted. 14

Ban polystyrene and single-use plastic packaged foods. Use bulk dispensing rather than sachets (e.g. sugar, spreads, milk, sauces, salt and pepper). Charge a levy for the return of cups, bottles or cans. It has been common practice in many European countries for audiences to pay a deposit on drinks to ensure the vessel is returned. Some UK events have also put into practice


either deposits or incentives to return cups. Latitude and Shambala use a cup deposit to encourage re-usable cups to be returned.

Use re-usable, rather than eventspecific, name badges, wristbands, signs, display materials, exhibition stands and flooring, etc.

At Reading the younger demographic appears to value being able to return disposable cups for a small reward, helping the site cleanliness and recycling.

Encourage all sponsors and NGOs to meet your plastic-free standards.

Other initiatives, such as the Recycling Deposit at Shambala and the Eco Bond at Boomtown Fair, encourage festival-goers to bring their campsite recycling and rubbish separately to a central point, with high rates of engagement.

* If you have any queries about whether you are using the correct materials contact your supplier and check that what you are buying conforms to EN 13432 or EN 14995 (see Useful Resources below).

Put festival-goer packs in a re-usable holder (e.g. a jute bag or durable recycled sleeve). For more information about designing out disposables from your event visit:



SHAMBALA FESTIVAL – Bring a Bottle Campaign What they did In 2013, Shambala Festival banned the sale of bottled water and asked all festival - goers, staff and artists to bring their own re-usable bottles to the event. To help this initiative work, it was important to make it easier for customers to get fresh clean water by installing more taps across the site. The charity FRANK Water provided free chilled filtered water on all the bars and quality re-usable bottles were sold to those that forgot to bring a bottle.

THE RESULTS Circa 10,000 plastic water bottles were prevented from being used once and thrown away or recycled. The festival site was remarkably cleaner as a direct result, with 40% less waste on the ground. Staffing required to litter pick is being reduced in 2014. 16


The total weight and volume of festival waste was reduced as a result of eliminating plastic disposables. The audience feedback on the Bring a Bottle initiatives was overwhelmingly positive, with 93% of respondents to a survey saying they “understood the reasons for the campaign and thought it was a good idea.” 10% of the audience purchased a branded water bottle, generating revenue. The initiative was at cost-neutral to the festival overall.


OPEN AIR ST. GALLEN – Do re-usable cups stack up?


What they did Re-usable cups are the norm in many European countries. Open Air St. Gallen in Switzerland decided to find out what the ecological benefits really were by commissioning an in-depth study in 2013. They were concerned that due to the loss rate of cups, the energy involved in washing and the transport, that re-usable cups may not actually be the best option. The event introduced re-usable cups in 2010, and uses on average 220,000 cups at each event. Their loss rate has varied between 7% and 19% of total cups each year. The average re-use of cups has been 7 times. The study was based on a comparison with PET cups.

THE RESULTS The manufacturing of one re-usable cup is around 2.5 x less environmentally friendly than one single use cup.

More than 80% of the environmental pollution is based on the manufacturing of the cup. The implication of cleaning the re-usable cups is dominated by the transport distance rather than the washing process. With a reduction of the loss rate, the environmental impact could be improved.

Even with a realistic usage rate of 7 times, the re-usable cup is still clearly more sustainable than a single use cup. A re-usable cup at St. Gallen becomes ecologically better than disposable PET cups after 3 uses.12 12

Quantis (2013) Screening LCA: Comparison Single-use Cups and Reusable Cups




FRANK Water’s FreeFill Service FRANK Water saves lives through funding sustainable, safe water projects in developing countries. Innovative and effective filtration technology is used to remove biological and chemical contamination. Since 2005, FRANK Water have funded 116 clean water projects in rural India, providing access to safe water for over 200,000 people. FRANK Water’s festival service ‘FreeFill’ provides the public with unlimited refills of filtered, chilled water, when they purchase a FreeFill bottle or wristband (if they already have a re-usable bottle with them) from one of their fixed refill stations or mobile units.

100% of net profit from the sale of the refillable water bottles (stainless steel and/or UK made BPA-free re-usable plastic bottles) goes to FRANK Water Projects (Registered charity no. 1121273). In 2013, FreeFill helped 6 festivals reduce their plastic bottle waste through selling over 10,000 refillable water bottles. To date, two of their festival partners, WOMAD and End of the Road, have funded a complete clean water project in rural India.

FreeFill reduces a festival’s plasticbottle-waste and recycling whilst raising funds for FRANK Water.

RAW FOUNDATION Making Waves Workshops


Raw Foundation provide an interactive experience at festivals and events to raise awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. Everthing is systems-focused, solutionoriented and change-driven.

In 2013, Raw Foundation helped to reinforce Shambala’s Bring a Bottle ‘message’ to encourage behaviour change. They also provide refillable stainless steel bottles for festivals and events throughout the year.



USEFUL RESOURCES Events Resource Management Plan (RMP) Tool The Events Resource Management Plan is a free online tool to help event organisers, suppliers and waste contractors work together to maximise re-use and recycling, minimise waste to landfill, and share event waste data.

Julie’s Bicycle IG (Industry Green) Tools Developed specifically for the creative industries, the IG Tools are free-to-use online carbon calculators suitable for use across the world. The IG Tools measure the greenhouse gas emissions produced by Touring, Production, Venues, Festivals and Outdoor Events, and Offices. The IG Tools provide results on greenhouse gas emissions generated by energy, water, waste, audience and business travel. The IG Touring and Production Tools can also be used as a planning tool before the tour or production takes place, to calculate expected emissions, and then revisit when the event is complete to identify the actual emissions. Alongside the IG Tools are tips, guidance, resources and

publications on the Julie’s Bicycle website.

Zero waste events: a 2020 vision “Zero waste events: a 2020 vision”, a new event industry roadmap initiative was launched in 2013, with the goal of no waste being sent to landfill from UK events by the end of the decade. The roadmap is relevant to all those involved in planning and delivering events from event organisers /planners, managers and contractors, venue owners and promoters, corporate sponsors, local authorities, waste contractors, hospitality and catering companies to construction firms and builders.

Positive Impact Positive Impact exists to create a sustainable event industry. As a not for profit, all money spent with us goes towards the development of new resources and initiatives for a more sustainable event industry. 19


A Greener Festival

Green Arts Marketplace

A popular award for festivals in the UK and abroad. 46 festivals across the UK, Europe, Australia and North America have been awarded the prestigious Greener Festival Award for their green efforts in reducing their environmental impact 2011.

The Julie’s Bicycle Green Arts Marketplace lists top suppliers, freelancers and venues to the creative industries who are committed to good environmental practice.

Raw Foundation Factsheets Raw Foundation is developing two factsheets on plastic and e-waste for Festivals, Venues and Events and Suppliers to the creative industries. They will be showcasing a wide range of green events, products and services in the creative industries that fulfil specific sustainabilty criteria. They will be launched in Autumn 2014.


European Bioplastics European Bioplastics support and promote technological innovation of bioplastics to improve the balance between environmental benefits and environmental impact, the sustainable growing of biomass crops for the production of biobased plastics and efficient recovery, re-use and recycling systems. They provide standards, certifications and guidelines for transparent claims about bioplastics.

Source: Shambala 2012, Copyright Burst Photography


GLOSSARY Additives Additives are materials that are added to a polymer to produce a desired change in material properties or characteristics. A wide variety of additives are currently used in thermoplastics, to expand or extend material properties, enhance processability, modify aesthetics, or increase environmental resistance. Additives enhance properties like flame retardancy and UV light stability. Brominated Flame Retardents (BFRs ) are persistent organic compounds integrated into potentially flammable materials such as plastics, rubbers and textiles to reduce combustion. Dioxins Dioxins are a group of chemicallyrelated compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. They are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer. Downcycling Downcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products that are of lesser quality and reduced functionality.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) HDPE has a higher density and chemical resistance than LDPE. HDPE is also harder, more opaque and brittle and can withstand higher temperatures. Among the contaminants to potentially migrate from HDPE into stored materials are antioxidants, including nonylphenol, an endocrine-disrupting compound used both as an antioxidant and as a plasticiser. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) LDPE is not as strong as HDPE and has a lower density and melting point than HDPE. It has good chemical resistance but is prone to cracking and has poor UV resistance and barrier properties, except to water. Microplastics Microplastics can be made from polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, PVC or polystyrene. They are too small to be captured through existing wastewater treatment process, and wash straight into the ocean. They fall into three categories: the raw material called ‘nurdles‘ that are melted down to make larger plastic items or used as exfoliating beads in cosmetic products, or larger pieces of plastic that have degraded and broken down into smaller particles over time. 21


Monomer A monomer is the molecular unit from which polymers are made. Phthalates Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used as plasticisers (softeners) in a vast range of plastic products including food packaging and food containers, toys, personal care products, cosmetics, adhesives, paints, medical equipment and PVC. These chemicals are not chemically bound to the plastic, and are able to migrate out of the material over time. Some widely used phthalates are known to disrupt reproduction, capable of causing changes to both male and female reproductive systems and birth defects during critical periods of development. A report in 2012 by the European Union highlights risks related to phthalates, and in particular the use of DEHP in PVC medical devices, states that blood bags made of DEHPplasticised PVC pose a significant risk to human health. 13 Plasticiser A softener incorporated (usually a plastic or an elastomer) to increase flexibility, workability or extensibility, such as food containers, which can release phthalates into your food. 22

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) PET is a plastic resin and the most common type of plastic. Plasticisers are not required in PET for softening, but this polymer may contain additives. Although it does not represent many contaminants, reports have indicated . that leaching of plastics’ components into beverages from PET can occur. Polymer A polymer is a molecular chain formed by combining many smaller molecules. Polymers are the product of a reaction called polymerization, the process of connecting many (poly) single units (mers or mono-mers) to form long chain molecules of higher molecular weight. All plastic resins or materials are polymeric in nature. Polymerization The process of converting a monomer or a mixture of monomers into a polymer. Polypropylene (PP) Polypropylene is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids. In 2008, researchers in Canada identified families of PP compounds that had contaminated their labware and experimental results. They further demonstrated


that the compounds interacted biologically with, and changed the behaviour of, human enzymes and brain receptors.14 Polystyrene (PS) Polystyrene is lightweight and aerodynamic, so it is easily blown into gutters and drains even when properly disposed of. Polystyrene is also very brittle and quickly breaks into small pieces making it impossible to clean up. It is a serious source of marine debris pollution and kills marine wildlife because it mimics food and causes starvation or choking if ingested. Polyvinyl Chloride (PV/PVC) PVC (often referred to as the ‘Poison Plastic’) is the third-most widely produced plastic after PET and PP. PVC contains high levels of chlorine, carbon and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) which is explosive, highly toxic and carcinogenic. During the production of PVC, dioxins are created and released. PVC is made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticisers, the most widely used being phthalates. Attempts to recycle PVC have proven difficult - so much of it ends up in landfills. It is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics.

PVC can be found in packaging, electronics, imitation leather, flooring and more. Stabilizer A substance used in the formulation of plastics to help maintain the properties of the material during processing and service life on certain types of plastic. Virgin Material A material that has not been previously used or consumed, or subjected to processing other than for its original production.

Source: Surfrider Foundation and Rise Above Plastics

13 Raul C. and eco2win AB (2012) Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, of

PVC Blood Bag task=cat_view&Itemid=146&gid=44


McDonald, G. et al. (2008) Bioactive Contaminants Leach from Disposable Laboratory Plasticware, Science 322,



> FIND OUT MORE VIDEOS The Story of Stuff The Story of Bottled Water w w w. s t o r y o f s t u ff. o r g / m o v i e s all/story-of-bottled-water/ Sir David Attenborough: Plastic Ocean 2I_f0 Charles Moore: Seas of plastic ore_on_the_seas_of_plastic Charles Moore: Synthetic Sea 2010 gbQo Chris Jordan: Pictures some shocking stats n_pictures_some_shocking_stats Chris Jordan: Polluting Plastics Qask Chris Jordan: Midway 4xZs 24

You ain't gonna miss your water until your well runs dry" BOB MARLEY, 1980

Ellen Macarthur Foundation: The Circular Economy yyHmI Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in Action w5WU Sylvia Earle: Protect our oceans d_prize_wish_to_protect_our_oceans William McDonough: Cradle to Cradle Voo&feature=related FILMS Trashed (2012) An award winning film by Blenheim Films with Jeremy Irons. BOOKS Watson, M. (2009) ‘Materials Awareness’ in A. Stibe (ed) (2009) The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: skills for a changing world. Totnes: Green Books.


HOW WE CAN HELP Raw Foundation and Kambe Events are jointly offering a range of consultancy, training, workshops, presentations and talks. Access expert advice and guidance on impacts and issues associated with plastics. Be confident about the science and rationale behind decisions to improve your ecological footprint. Find out what works at other events and develop successful initiatives for your own event. Gain inside knowledge on the logistics and financial impacts of a range of plastics reduction initiatives. Identify the best way forward and develop tailor made solutions and strategies. Save time to embed change and solve your problems effectively, practically and with real impact. We are committed to supporting action, and welcome opportunities to bring festival management teams together to create strategies and action plans to reduce plastics. For further information please contact:

CONTACTS > RAW FOUNDATION Melinda Watson Founder/Director E W LIKE US! FOLLOW US! @RawfoundationUK

KAMBE EVENTS Sustainable Events Consultancy Christopher Johnson Director & Event Coordinator E W

foundation Š Realising Another World (RAW) Foundation, a UK Registered Sustainable Development Charity (No. 1138724) and a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (No. 7310462).


Making waves plastic free festival guide  

As part of a major campaign to encourage event and festival organisers to reduce plastics at their events, Raw Foundation launches their fir...

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