More than 60 UK independent festivals commit to ban single-use plastic by 2021

They have also pledged to ban the use of plastic straws at events this summer.

More than 60 of the UK’s biggest music festivals have pledged to ban the use of plastic straws at their events this summer.

The group of independent festivals, including the likes of Bestival, Boomtown Fair and Shambala, have also committed to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2021.

Organised by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the campaign will see festival websites “wrapped in plastic” for 24 hours to mark Earth Day this Sunday.

Glastonbury Festival Goers 2017 Departures
Festival rubbish (Ben Birchall/PA)

Sites will also share key facts and messages about the impact of everyday plastic use as the AIF teams up with campaign partner RAW Foundation – a sustainable development charity – while metal water bottles will also be on sale.

The AIF are also in talks with festival membership organisations across the UK and Europe with the aim of bringing hundreds more festivals to commit to similar goals by the end of this year.

Bestival and AIF co-founder Rob Da Bank said the festival group were “leading the global charge against unnecessary plastic at all our festivals”.

He added: “Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ll know the plastic problem is not going away. I’m very proud that the organisation we started with five members 10 years ago now boasts over 60 who have all signed up to eradicate single use plastic in the next couple of years.”

Common People Festival – Southampton
DJ and festival organiser Rob Da Bank (David Jensen/PA)

It comes as Boardmasters festival in Cornwall announced a new sustainability strategy while Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn unveiled several environmental measures ahead of this year’s Download.

The company, which also organises events such as Reading and Leeds, Wireless, and Latitude, banned plastic straws at all their festivals four years ago and runs return deposit schemes on items bought.

Earlier this year Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis claimed the event were working on banning plastic bottles from next year.

Melinda Watson, founder of RAW, said “urgent action” was needed across industries, adding: “Recycling is important, but it is far from the solution.

“Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use. We will build on work we have done with Glastonbury and Shambala, working with the festival industry to radically change our relationship to our plastic stuff.”

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