WHAT YOU CAN DO AS AN EVENTS ORGANISER
Whether you’re an experienced event organiser, or are looking to set up your very first event, you can never overestimate the amount of waste that a group of people can make!
Single-use plastic makes up the majority of event waste which, if not managed correctly, will either end up in landfill or the ocean.
At Plastic Free North Devon, we believe it is possible to eliminate all single-use plastic from your event or event experience. With public awareness of the plastic pollution problem growing daily, customers are beginning to look negatively at events and businesses who offer single-use plastics - and, as such, your event needs to be seen to be making an effort to remove them. Achieving this is simpler than you may think. We can help you identify where you can reduce single-use plastic items - and what alternatives you might offer
One great option to reduce plastic bottled water, is to offer a cost-neutral water bar, manned by Plastic Free experts instead! Or, if you already have a bar, you could replace single use pint cups with a reusable alternative on a deposit return scheme.
Plastic Free North Devon has been conducting research and working with local event organisers to find effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of events by focusing on waste management. The aim has been to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items and the amount of waste going to landfill/incineration.
Below are some simple steps to help you to host a sustainable event whilst also providing a fun and safe environment for your customers.
START PLANNING EARLY
Make waste management part of your initial planning process
Identify the waste streams you will need (e.g. food, food packaging, cardboard, plastic, cans, paper, cigarette butts, landfill/incineration).
Work with your waste contractor to understand waste quantities, costs, and infrastructure (ie you might need different waste stations for different areas of your event site).
Think about the clear up afterwards, and remember - the more you can get people to do for themselves the easier, and cheaper the post event clear up will be for you!
CONTROL MATERIALS COMING TO THE EVENT SITE
Only allow materials on site that you want to include in your plan (e.g. food stalls should only serve food in biodegradable food packaging; no drinks to be sold in plastic bottles; ban all plastic straws and styrofoam/polystyrene packaging; stallholders to remove bulk packaging materials before arriving on site; no single-use plastic toys/balloons to be sold).
MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING
Unsurprisingly, waste management isn’t high on most people’s list of priorities at a festival or an event and they aren’t likely to spend a lot of time or effort on it, so make it easy for them!
Clearly label all bins - place a sign at each bin, showing what can / cannot be deposited.
If possible, a team of ‘bin-monitors’ should be deployed to help get the waste to the right place.
Ensure your team understands the waste management plan, what they need to do, and why.
Make sure contractors and stallholders are aware in advance of the waste facilities that will be available to them, and any restrictions on materials that they can bring, use and sell, and why.
Tell festival/event goers what you are trying to achieve, and how they can help. Make sure you communicate this to them in the run up to the event as well as on the day(s). Ask them to bring their own water bottles, reusable cups, cutlery, shopping bags etc.
After the event, celebrate your success - let people know about your plastic success stories (your customers and us too!), thank them for their support, and set a new target for the following year.
LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE NEXT TIME
As part of your event wrap-up, think about what went well with your waste and what could be improved.management and consider how things could be improved for next time.
Set targets for the following year and work them into your plan.
You might also want to look at how you can be more efficient with energy supply and transport.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
Please contact Plastic Free North Devon if you would like help with planning your event and organising volunteers to assist you on the day. We would also love to hear about your experiences and share your ideas.
To help you get started, we have produced a Plastic Free Sports Event toolkit and a General Events Guidance which you can download below or, alternatively, email us on: email@example.com for more information.