The Netherlands is full of festivals. Each weekend, thousands of visitors enjoy a day or weekend of music and performances. What are festivals doing to avoid plastic waste? How do they recycle? Last weekend, Refill Ambassadors Félice and Hella visited the Gardens of Babylon festival, Amsterdam.
1. REUSABLE CUPS
We still remember the days of festivals with single-use cups. What a total waste! Towards the end of the night, you almost had to swim against the current of plastic trash. Luckily, these days are gone. Almost all festivals now use reusable cups with a deposit system.
We noticed that some party animals still threw their cups on the ground. So in the end of the night, we spotted quite some broken cups. But most people carefully kept their cups.
2. TAP WATER
Most festivals serve free potable tap water next to the toilets. Last weekend it was quite warm and visitors were frequently refilling.
3. CUP & COIN COLLECTION
All beverages— so cups, cans and bottles— had €1.50 deposit on it. Hella joined a ‘Cup & Coin’ volunteer shift. For a couple of hours she was in charge to collect empty cups and provide people with a deposit coin. Overall the shift was a lot of fun. Plus she got free access to the festival.
All waste was being seperated directly on the spot. Plastic bottles, cans, and bottle caps were collected seperately. The food court used biodegradable plates and cutlery. Together with food waste this was collected in one big container. We are not sure what happens next.
STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
This festival organisation clearly tries to waste less plastics. Still, there is room for improvements. We suggest:
Allowing visitors to bring their own reusable bottle
Better inform the visitors upon arrival about the cup & coin system
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
We are curious to hear your opinion about sustainability measures at festivals. Please share your ideas in the comments below.
Do you want to contribute to sustainable systems at festivals in the Netherlands? Become a Revolution volunteer! You will get amazing rewards (e.g. free access to festivals).
What a crazy time. A few weeks ago, we were working at the office, meeting our friends, going out and playing football. These days, most of us are (working) at home. Schools are closed. The streets are empty. Due to the coronavirus, all cafés, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands are closed, with the exception of take-away. And that’s what we want to talk about today: how to eliminate single-use plastics for take-away food and drinks. Coffee to go? Bring your own cup! Pita-falafel? Bring your beeswax wrap!
WHAT TO BRING?
Reusable cup/bottle for your coffee to go
The choice is endless! Personally, we’d like to keep a separate reusable bottle we call them your BBF) for water refills and a smaller reusable mug/cup for coffee to go. Not all cups/mugs/bottles are suitable for hot drinks, so check beforehand when buying one. Secondly, pay attention to the washing instructions, as some are not suitable for dishwashers. Last but not least, choose for something that lasts long and does not leak.
Food storage containers
Again, there are many good options here. Zero-waste sisters Jessie and Nicky always carry a mason jar with them. If you prefer something lightweight, you can choose for example recycled plastic (look for BPA-free). Steel is very long-lasting, but not suitable for microwaves. For sandwiches/pitas, you can bring reusable beeswax wraps. Eating in the park or on the train? Bring your own cutlery!
HOW TO ESCAPE PLASTIC BOXES/PAPER CUPS?
Be prepared: bring your reusable items when going out for the food hunt. You can always stack a foldable reusable bag under your bicycle seat or as a key hanger.
Feel proud: never be embarrassed about you bringing your own packaging. Feel proud instead!
Be quick: when ordering, immediately ask the staff to pack it in your containers. Make sure to show it to them (people tend to have a bad short-term memory when hearing things, but this improves when seeingthings). When ordering a cold drink, say no to the straw.
Pay the right price: use a waterproof marker to write the weight & volume on your containers. So in case you buy food per kg, they can easily deduct the container weight from the total. Furthermore, look out for discounts. Some places offer €0,25 discount when you bring your own cup for instance.
DO YOU HAVE MORE TIPS?
We would love to hear more stories how you can avoid single-use plastics. Please share your experience below. For the coming weeks: good luck, keep your distance and stay healthy! And a big applause to the medical staff worldwide.