Saturday, 21 July 2018

Going for a plastic-free Sidmouth Folk Week

Back in May, the Sea Fest really showed how it can be done, when it comes to festivals going plastic-free:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Sea Fest > Raising awareness through visual activities and fun. Celebrating everything in and by the sea, encouraging responsible tourism and a responsible approach by everybody to our coastline, using art and culture.

Futures Forum: Sidmouth Sea Fest > special focus on ‘rethinking plastics’ > Saturday 12th May

Earlier this month, the Folk Week received a further grant - and promised to do its bit to reduce plastic pollution:

The festival is also reducing plastic by offering performers reusable water bottles and are encouraging visitors to bring their own tankards to save the number of plastic glasses at food stalls.

Sidmouth Folkweek receives £2,500 boost | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald 

Folk Week organisers are trying, as shown in their festival programme:

Plastics Campaign 

This year the Festival is reducing the use of plastic in all areas. Please help us by reusing glasses, bringing your own tankards and using refillable water bottles, which are also on sale at the Souvenir stalls.

Sidmouth Folk Week: festival programme

The Town Council have been very keen to do its bit: 
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > meeting Wednesday 20th June > press release

As are some key venues, providing alternatives to plastic beer cups: 

This piece by Denise Bickley of the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors shows that it does indeed take time to get things together: 

Folk Festival

Posted on July 18, 2018

One of our main focuses was to try to help Sidmouth Folk Festival become as plastic free as possible. Glastonbury have a very informative website about what could be achieved for festivals, [https://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/green-glastonbury/refill-not-landfill/] and there are lots of ideas about what to do.

What I’m learning is that some changes are impossible to be made quickly – we have to wait for recycling services to catch up. The festival itself are very forward thinking and I am itching to share what they’ve sent me so far…watch this space.

However some of the pubs appear to not be changing the way they’ve always done it, and I can understand why – cost is a major concern, as is the actual facilities for washing reusable pint glasses. It is obviously ‘easier’ to serve them in single use plastic. However, with one pub telling me that they sold 30,000 pints on the first day last year, that is obviously a horrendous thought.

My thoughts for next year would be that every venue signs up to a stainless steel and/or acrylic Festival Souvenir Cup, that is sold at cost or very slightly above, ordered in bulk and each venue just pays for what they need, then if they could organise a dishwashing area with clean cups and if anyone needs to replace theirs they hand it in and get a replacement clean one…seems easy enough to me! Someone employed just to keep the dishwashers running and keep the turnover going. These things are going to take a shift in mindset but it’s not completely impossible to do away with the single use plastic entirely. Hopefully this year is a good start, with successes celebrated, plus improvements suggested and acted upon for next year.

I have heard a lot of moaning on festival sites in general on Facebook, where people are moaning that they have to bring their own reusable coffee cups, water bottles, cutlery and pint glasses etc – as Warrior Anne said when you have children you take everything out for them and think nothing of it, so why not do that for yourself? Just a small rucksack with the essentials in it, and you’re good to go! It’s just taking back personal responsibility. Planet vs Self. No biggie.

We are still in need of volunteers to do a beach clean or two throughout the week. One every morning and evening would be great but I don’t fancy doing them all myself! If you can help do email me info@sidmouthplasticwarriors.org or get in touch on Facebook.


Folk Festival – Sidmouth Plastic Warriors

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