Our Opinion

Tackling Material Resources Within the Event Management Sector

By 22nd July 2019 No Comments

With summer having arrived, a number of people will be attending various events throughout the UK and as a result, venues will accumulate a lot of excess material. 

Due to Glastonbury Festival’s ban on selling drinks in single-use plastic bottles, we were prompted to examine further how event management companies currently deal with the waste accumulated at various venues over the summer festival period. At Glastonbury 2017, over one million plastic bottles were sold during the 5-days of the festival. In 2019, the sale of plastic bottles was banned but drinks in cans were still available, with the aluminium waste being recycled by the onsite recycling centre. However, most festivals, concerts and other similar event venues do not operate in such a way and accumulate tons of plastic, aluminium, paper and other types of ‘waste’. 

‘Waste’ at events may not usually be at the forefront of people’s minds while at festivals, however with ever-increasing environmental threats from the pollution crisis we are currently facing, it is important for people and businesses alike to take responsibility for the sustainability of events they host or attend.

Eventbrite has put together their own list of 5 ways events can reduce their carbon footprint and tackle the large quantities of materials that guests leave behind. One of the key suggestions they make is to enable sufficient recycling opportunities and even to go a step further, by setting up composting bins for leftover food. Eventbrite has also suggested reducing the paper trail for the event and instead of flyers, opt for digital marketing and communications to be carried out more sustainably. Although useful, these recommendations fall way short of the critical action needed to tackle the excess materials left behind by festival visitors.

Thousands of discarded tents are left behind at music festivals every year, with the majority going to landfill or incineration. At present, there are few innovative ways to deal with this kind of leftover material. One of the few schemes that does deal with this issue is Comp-A-Tent, who aim to encourage visitors to be greener by providing compostable tents. Some festivals demonstrate environmental awareness by making it easy for visitors to keep sites clean. One example is the Vieilles Charrues Festival in France, which encourages guests to collect discarded items and separate them into designated coloured trash bags, in return for a reward of some sort.

In light of Glastonbury’s ban on selling single-use plastic and Eventbrite’s suggestions to make venues more sustainable, there is probable cause to believe that many event management companies will be looking out for innovative options on making events greener in the near future.

HERU has the capability to provide an environmentally friendly solution to this recurring issue. The soon-to-be 240L commercial HERU will have the ability to process valuable resources such as food packaging, uneaten food, drinks bottles, paper plates etc. during the festival, in turn providing hot water for on-site showers. At the end of the event, tents left behind can be processed with the resulting hot water being used for the clean-up operation.