Picture this: the aftermath of a music festival, and as far as the eye can see, the landscape is dominated by tens of thousands of plastic bottles, drink cans, glass shards, and even remnants of old chairs and tents. It's a scene that could easily be mistaken for a municipal waste dump or landfill, but in reality, it's the aftermath of a music festival just hours after the crowds have dispersed. This unsettling sight reflects a long-standing issue that has often been overlooked in the world of concerts, events, and festivals – the problem of managing waste.
Music venues have a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on sustainability by addressing their environmental and social responsibilities. Beyond the ecological benefits, taking sustainability more seriously can lead to financial savings, improved public relations, and a stronger connection with eco-conscious audiences. Ultimately, it positions music venues as leaders in promoting positive change within the entertainment industry and the broader community.
Thankfully, this issue is finally gaining the attention it deserves and becoming an integral part of the work of venues, event organisers, promoters and reusable product suppliers worldwide. With today's festivals and concerts, sustainability really is taking center stage.
Major music festivals and concerts are cultural landmarks, drawing tens of thousands, and sometimes even hundreds of thousands, of people together to celebrate music, art, and the joy of shared experiences. However, these grand events, such as Glastonbury in the UK, generate staggering amounts of solid waste, sometimes up to 100 tons daily.
- In the US, music festivals produced a shocking 53,000 tons of waste at their peak in 2019, equivalent to roughly 450 blue whales!
- The UK's figures were even more alarming, with 23,500 tons of waste generated. This is half the waste generated by a country with one-fifth of the US population, and sadly, up to 70% of this waste ended up in landfills.
A significant part of this waste problem stemmed from single-use plastic bottles, as festival-goers understandably sought to stay hydrated in the scorching summer months. This led to millions of single-use plastic bottles ending up in landfills. Additionally, the issue of abandoned tents was rampant, with an estimated 250,000 left behind at UK music festivals each year. It was abundantly clear that something needed to change, and several festival organisers, event spaces, and waste management companies took the lead in addressing this challenge.
Today, we have numerous examples of event organisers integrating sustainable practices into your festival experience. Glastonbury Festival, the world's largest of its kind, banned single-use plastic bottles and encouraged festival-goers to bring reusable bottles, providing free water refill stations throughout the site. Emily Eavis, one of the festival's organisers, emphasised the need for this change, stating, "With more than one million plastic bottles sold in 2017, we felt that stopping their sale is the only way forward." Other event organisers adopted similar approaches. STACK-CUP™ work with festivals, concert halls and music venues across the UK, tailoring reusable cup systems that are suited to the needs of the business. Event organisers and venues partner with STACK-CUP™ to reduce the amount of single use plastic and stop disposable cups from being used year on year. With tens of millions of people attending sports stadiums, concert arenas, and festivals globally each year, events now offer a unique opportunity to promote new ways of thinking about sustainability and waste management.
Join the reuse revolution!
Recent initiatives have proven that small changes can yield significant results, and event organisers are embracing various sustainable practices. Actions such as banning single-use plastics, implementing reusable cup schemes, investing in biodegradable packaging, and using refill schemes can make a substantial difference over the course of any event. Moreover, measures like temporary public transport, renewable energy utilisation, and effective recycling programs can expose the long-concealed environmental impacts of these events. The time has come for sustainability to take center stage, encouraging both event organisers and festival-goers to reduce waste and improve recycling at events of all sizes.
We help music venues take sustainability more seriously by:
- Improving their environmental impact
- Supporting their climate responsibility
- Generating cost savings
- Attracting Eco-Conscious Audiences
- Creating positive PR
- Ensuring compliance and regulation
- Fostering community engagement
- Ensuring long term viability
- Promoting industry leadership
As concerts and events continue to embrace sustainability, we're witnessing a transformation in the way we celebrate music and shared experiences. With artists, organisers, and communities joining forces, we can ensure that sustainability truly takes center stage, leaving behind a legacy of responsible environmental stewardship for generations to come!