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Festival Waste And Recycling

Tips to reduce catering waste at festivals and outdoor events

Waste generated at festivals and outdoor events is one of the most prominent environmental impacts they face.

Various festivals, such as Glastonbury and Download Festival, have already created policies to tackle these issues and promote a better environment for all, involving traders and festival-goers alike.

In this article, we’ll share some top tips for caterers and businesses to help reduce waste at festivals or related outdoor events. These efforts will minimise the amount of harmful waste affecting the environment.

Festival Waste And Recycling

  1. Do your research

Whether you book a catering stall or marquee, you should ask the organisers questions about their policies and procedures so you can prepare accordingly, such as:

  • What types of packaging is permitted?
  • Are there any composting facilities on-site? If so, are they for caterers, customers, or both?
  • Which materials are recyclable on-site?
  • How many recycling points are there?
  • Where are the recycling points? Are there any maps available?

This information can be used to help you and your customers make responsible decisions. Even a printed map of recycling points can go a long way, and signal that your business is environmentally conscious.

Many organisers are also able to supply marked recycling bins.

  1. Switch your packaging

Packaging is without a doubt the most obvious change a caterer can make.

If reusable packaging is not possible, you can switch your single-use packaging to eco-friendlier alternatives.

Try switching your plastic cutlery to wooden cutlery, sustainably sourced and fully recyclable. You can also swap your plastic tupperware containers to biodegradable bagasse food boxes, which can break down naturally. Fully recyclable paper straws prove an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws, while fully recyclable paper carrier bags can replace plastic bags.

  1. Encourage better choices

You can promote guidelines on which types of waste will be expected, and whether they can be recycled.

If not provided by organisers already, you can also label each bin in your area to help customers segregate waste effectively and give examples of the types of waste each bin should contain. This will also help with clean up efforts after the event has finished.

You can also involve festival goers and attendees by supplying recycling bin bags and offering reward incentives.

  1. Play your part

Responsible catering isn’t just about helping customers recycle properly. You and your staff can do as much as you can to cut your carbon footprint, such as:

  • Recycling responsibly
  • Creating a waste management strategy – planning your actions for before, during, and after the event
  • Don’t leave lights, car engines, and electrical equipment running when not needed
  • Utilising volunteers and potential sponsorship for the clean-up efforts after the event
  • Continue to raise awareness after the event
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