Features / Environment

‘Reducing the impact that we have on the environment has long been our priority’

By lowie trevena, Tuesday Jul 2, 2019

Boomtown is a festival taking place in Hampshire between August 7-11. The company behind the event, Boomtown Festival UK Ltd are based locally in Bristol.

The company are pushing to make this year’s Boomtown the most environmentally friendly festival it can be. Bristol24/7 spoke to Emily Ford, media manager at the company, about sustainability.

What makes Boomtown unique with its position on being more environmentally friendly?

Boomtown is a big event and reducing the impact that we have on the environment has long been our priority. We’ve just launched our Green Mission where we announced our environmental commitments for Chapter 11 and there have been some really exciting developments.

There will be a team on site to educate festival attendees about sustainability, by Benjamin Paul

We are no longer selling plastic water or soft drink bottles, preventing 225,000 plastic bottles from being sold. We’re encouraging everyone to bring their own reusable bottles and reusable bottles will also be available at the festival.

We’re collaborating with WaterAid to provide a load more free refill stations around the arenas and campsites too. Backstage will also be plastic-free, with canned drinks and reusable water bottles available to artists and crew.

For the first time, we’re working together with Vegware to standardise the trader and bar packaging to ensure it’s 100 per cent EN13432 certified compostable – this includes everything from the lining in all coffee cups, coffee cup lids, bar cups and food boxes.

By working closely with our waste contractor, recycling team and a local composting facility we will ensure all serve ware is disposed of correctly and send it to an industrial composter. From there, it will be turned into soil within 12 weeks used to help plants grow.

We’ve already banned plastic cutlery, plastic food packaging and straws from all traders, caterers and bars but the exciting next step has been introducing compostable bar cups to all bars.

This will keep all packaging streamline and make it easier for our audience to dispose of correctly, as all serve ware just needs to go in the same bin. We’re also ​working with a reforestation and culture change charity called TreeSisters and are planting a tree for every citizen that attends.

We are also part of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), where ​more than 60 fellow independent festivals  played a leading role in helping to create an industry wide campaign to raise awareness around the issue of single use tents.

AIF are starting a dialogue with tent retailers to prevent the marketing around cheap tent packages and instead manufacturer durable tents and promote reuse and loving your tent.

Sustainability really is inextricably linked to all aspects of the festival. Not only have we have overhauled our approach operationally and on the ground but it plays an integral role in the festival’s design and our messaging is inextricably linked to the story for Chapter 11.

Boomtown is encouraging people to be eco-friendly at Chapter 11, by Garry Jon

What is Eco Camp?

It’s a zero-waste space that we have created in collaboration with Environmental Recovery Solutions. It will be in DSTRKT5 camping, which is where we find the most abandoned tents.

Rather than offer a space to the already converted, we thought we’d throw ourselves into the campsite that needs the most inspiration to be a zero waste space.

Facilities include a NiftyBins system to sort waste at the source, campsite patrol to help maintain the clean camp ethos, and workshops to provide tips for a zero-waste lifestyle.

Campers use the recycling system, by Jody Hartley

Everyone will have the choice to camp here, as long as they agree to the ethos – head towards DSTRKT 5 camping and take a pledge on entry.

What have Boomtown done in the past to be environmentally conscious?

We have always been working towards ​eradicating single-use plastic and encouraging people to reduce, reuse and recycle. Plus we’re working towards eliminating all non-recyclable waste and working towards a circular festival where we keep all products and materials in use. We also have a green team, who help educate people on site about the environment.

Returning this year, the Eco Bond scheme adds £10 to every festival ticket sold and is refunded to the customer when they return a bag of recycling and a bag of general waste to the Eco Bond hubs.

Logistically, this is challenging both behind the scenes and on the ground and we’re continually improving our schemes and processes.

Things really started in 2009 when we were the first festival in the UK to introduce our Eco Bond scheme. We then introduced the separate bin system on site and our very own material recovery facility where we screen all recyclable waste to ensure it gets bailed and recycled directly. We became part of the ‘drastic on plastic’ pledge last year and ensured all of our traders use compostable serveware since 2011.

We were one of the first festivals to build partnerships with pioneering collaborations like Energy Revolution who balance the carbon footprint of a festival by investing in sustainable energy schemes.

Boomtown at night by Lucas Sinclair

How else is Boomtown encouraging green thinking?

Hopefully in wider society the public are now far more aware of the importance of reducing the amount of waste we generate in the first place.

We are encouraging people to create less waste at Boomtown by bringing less and promoting our pre-pitched services, reusing what they already have – like refillable water bottles and coffee cups, tents and camping equipment.

We are working with many partners to make recycling fun and easy for our visitors. We’re working with Every Can Counts and have voting ballot can bins.

Plus we’re working with ButtRfly to increase awareness around cigarette litter prevention and have a number of voting ballot bins to encourage visitors to dispose of their butts responsively.

Main photo by Mike Massaro.

Find out more at www.boomtownfair.co.uk/green-mission

Read more: Sector spotlight: Festivals

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