I have a confession…

Posted by on July 27, 2014

My name is Shea, I have used single-use plastic AND it’s PLASTIC-FREE JULY!¬†¬† ūüôĀ

Concerts are my undoing as they generally have a ‘no glass allowed’ policy, therefore, all drinks are either poured in a single-use plastic cup, handed to you in a plastic bottle or worst case – both! Being passed a small plastic bottle of wine is a double blow because, unless you are comfortable walking around swigging out of a bottle (not me thanks), you reach for a plastic cup.

One can be excused of thinking single-use plastic and nights out listening to live music, seem to go hand in hand. However, this is not the case for all live music venues.

Treading My Own Path, shared an article from the Guardian newspaper last month regarding the environmental commitment of The Glastonbury Festival¬†held in the UK. The article begins with explaining the festival is committed to becoming ‘The worlds most environmentally friendly outdoor musical event’ and this year was all about eliminating the plastic water bottle.

400 drinking water taps are located across the site and the 140,000 people who attend were encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles, with thousands reportedly on sale during the event for those who forgot. By 2015 they plan to have replaced all plastic pint cups and cutlery with reusable alternatives as they continue their mission to remove plastic waste from the farm in which the concert is held.

Closer to home, this weekend Byron Bay is in full swing with one of their annual music festivals Splendour in the Grass. In 2013 they were one of only three Australian Festivals to achieve ‘outstanding’ in the Independent Greener Festival Award. As well as an in depth Environmental Policy, this festival consists of a team of Eco Cops who are encouraging good environmental behaviour, Green Chiefs promoting the correct recycling and general waste procedures, Green Team checking up on festival recycling, Tree Planting Program with a commitment to planting 2,000 trees in 2014 and my favourite concept, Camp Little-Foot Print. To gain entry to this ‘vip’ area, campers must first subscribe to the listed criteria (see link) before they can sit back and enjoy the¬†benefits through-out the weekend. Break your sustainability promise and you will be sent into the depths of the general camp ground. The most sustainable Camp-Little Foot Print site of the weekend will win Gold Bar Tickets for next years event.

So, until the attitude and commitment shared by organisers of these such festivals become main stream, what is the answer to the current dilemma. Pack a reusable cup when heading out for the evening?

The little evening clutch which accompanies me during a night out won’t hold a reusable wine glass so, is that the end of having a glass of wine while enjoying great music – Nooooooo!!!!!

This was the damage at an indoor concert a month or so ago:

Plastic

Not a good result from someone who has publicly declared she is giving up single-use plastic. (Thank you to my super supportive Sister who carried the plastic bag all night in a quest to calm me down a bit…)

So how many reusables are we prepared to carry when we go ‘out and about’?

Quite a few years ago now my Sister-in-law bought a stainless steel drink bottle. She was the first one in our family to take a stand against plastic water bottles and encouraged me to do the same. Initially that conversation went something along the lines of:

“How on earth are you going to carry that oversized bottle around every where you go!”

It occurred to me just the other day how everyone in our family not only own their own reusable drink bottle now but, successfully carry it with them everywhere. Something which was thought of as strange and inconvenient in the beginning has very quickly become standard practise.

Nowadays it is second nature for these reusables to accompany us when we leave the house:

Reusables

  • Reusable bags both attached to the strap of my handbag and in the boot for shopping
  • ¬†A drink bottle each
  • Sandwich wraps and snack bags on days we are out around lunch time
  • We own¬†Keep Cups but, as I am not a coffee drinker, it is only needed¬†for the odd take-a-way hot chocolate. I would much prefer to ‘sit in’, relax and enjoy my treat in a mug ( filled with marshmallows)

So maybe carrying a reusable cup to a concert or show is the answer. Perhaps it is the lovely feminine clutch that has to go and the u-beaut-carry-everything bag has to come out to, well, carry everything…

The big picture solution of course is for venues to provide some form of cups which are both reusable and safe.

An outdoor concert held at a local winery at the start of the year provided a choice of either free single-use flimsy plastic cups or, for a small fee, a reusable much stronger plastic cup.

We arrived at this concert ‘fully’ prepared with an esky full of lunch, snacks and water so we were self sufficient and didn’t need to purchase any external items – didn’t even think of adding a cup! A truer word can’t be better said than to surround yourself with like minded people as my supportive husband paid the extra money and returned to our seat with a reusable wine cup.

image

This worked a treat on the day and is stored in our picnic basket at home for future use.

Positive solution, yes?

The same concert positioned staff at the front gate of the venue and had them handing out plastic bags to the thousands of visitors as they arrived. Let’s presume the intention was to encourage people to use them as individual garbage bags and take responsibility for leaving their designated area just as they found it. Do you think this is showing responsible initiative?

 

We are gradually giving up more and more single-use plastic in this household everyday and¬†finding both being prepared and saying “No Thankyou” is getting easier and just as convenient every time it is said. However, conscious decision or not, there are tough choices to be made during this journey – accept single-use plastic or, go without something we have really been looking forward to. By spending a few extra minutes grabbing a couple of ‘reusables’ before leaving the house, slowly but ever so surely, we create a new ‘normal’ and much more sustainable way of living.

Simple solution really, but not necessarily easy…

 

5139822_origHow was your Plastic-Free July?

Anyone keen to ‘fess up’ to individual challenges faced this month or better still happy to share some clever ‘doing without’ solutions regarding avoiding plastic.¬†I am also super keen to hear how everyone else handles a night out faced with plastic cups¬†–¬†Facebook and of course the comment section below are ready when you are…

Have a terrific week,

–¬†Shea

P.S. This Aussie Backpacker fondly remembers dancing her heart out at the Glastonbury festival many, many, years ago and therefore shared the inspiring Glastonbury article on CWMS Facebook page to show her support. Both the news article and festival website talk about loads of other positive environmental practices¬†being implemented and highlight awesome festival recaps. Great read if you have a few minutes to follow the link…

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2 Responses to I have a confession…

  1. Anna

    Its so darn difficult not to use plastic isn’t it? I’ve been very conscious of it this month thank you to CWMS – thank you x

    • Shea

      It is sooo difficult – baby steps!!
      Glad I could get you thinking…

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