Making Events Greener.
If you’ve ever been to a large event such as a beer fest or music festival, you’ll know that they’re not very clean or tidy. After hours and event days of intense partying being held in a huge space, several thousands of plastic bags, cups, paper plastic, polystyrene boxes, aluminium cans and other things are left behind to be cleaned up. Invariably, many of these end up in the environment, such as trees, bushes, rivers, lakes and fields. These may seem like basic necessities for an event so large, and it may seem like too much to take the sustainable route, but there are ways to make them greener in a very easy way.
Music festivals in the US and Europe have been working hard to decrease their carbon footprint of their events. Events such as Rothbury, Glastonbury and Coachella are adopting greener habits and encouraging festival-goers to be cleaner and greener. One of the greenest festivals – Pickathon – works hard to ensure their event leaves almost no mark on the environment. Attendees are encouraged to make use of public transport to get to the venue, either via bus, shuttle or bicycle. They’re even looking at holding events where there are no cars at all. They make use of reusable cutlery and crockery. They provide steel cups with clips attached so it makes it harder to lose. Reusable bamboo plates and bowls replace single use containers and cutlery, and a washing service is available to make sure they stay clean and get reused. Most of the event is solar powered running alongside biodiesel generators. Each change in turn gives a little more back to the environment and reduces the carbon footprint a little more.
In South Africa, we even have our own green music festivals. Rise And Shine is held in Sandton Central, promoting use of the Gautrain and encouraging people to carpool, and emphasise ‘green’ thinking towards recycling and leaving a small carbon footprint. As well as being able to enjoy music from some of South Africa’s great bands, your ticket contributes to GreenPop, an organisation that plants trees to compensate for our carbon footprint. Rocking The Daisies is one of SA’s bigger music festivals, with the focus of being as carbon neutral as possible. Each year they create a new goal to reduce the amount of waste generated by the festival – and each year it decreases. They have sponsorships from major brands that allows them to make use of renewable power, recycling bins, bicycle services and more. Biodegradable packaging is used at food stalls – no polystyrene is allowed at all! GreenPop joins in and helps plant more trees around Africa. Biodegradable soaps are available at eco-friendly washing stations. No flyers or magazines were printed, all marketing was done online and an app was made for event goers. The list really does go on!
Event planners relied on sponsorships to make much of this happen, but they also reached out to local businesses who could help and were committed to ‘greening’ events. Eco friendly companies in South Africa may not be large at this stage, and being able to be a part of events such as music festivals is great. It also doesn’t mean spending more – it means spending budgets somewhere else and thinking more about the environment. The alternatives to all the services offering at festivals and events are eco friendly, easily organised and do the job just as well. People might find the switch to green rather refreshing if it means a clean event! It’s not impossible to make your event green – simply reach out and find companies and people who will help you, so you can help the environment.
Making an event green and reducing carbon footprint may result in changes from the norm, but it brings a new level to festivals that only festivals can offer. And by attending these festivals, you know you’ll be contributing to a greener future in a way that won’t inconvenience you in any way – have fun and be green at the same time. If you have an event that you’re holding and would like some help to make it greener, let us know and we’ll gladly get in touch to help you!