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The AIF has launched its ‘Drastic On Plastic’ campaign, with over 60 festival websites ‘wrapped in plastic’.

Over 60 indie festivals and suppliers to take part in initiative on Earth Day, 22 April.

Participants to ban plastic straws as a minimum this season, and all single-use plastic within three years

Organisers of more than 60 independent festival across the UK have committed to banning the use of plastic straws on-site this season as a minimum first step – and eliminating all single-use plastic at their events by 2021.

A digital campaign led by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) will launch on Earth Day – Sunday, 22 April. It will see the websites of member festivals ‘wrapped in plastic’ for 24 hours.

Visitors to the websites of Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Shambala and dozens of other independent festivals on that date will be ‘faced’ with key facts and messages about the extent and impact of our everyday plastic use, along with links to resources from campaign partner RAW Foundation, a UK sustainable development charity dedicated to sustainable consumption through education and behaviour change.

The digital campaign will also confirm the commitment of all participating festivals to the Bestival led ‘Final Straw’ initiative, which will see organisers ban the use of plastic straws on their sites this year, if they haven’t done so already.

Further to that, each participating event will commit to a three-year plan to eliminate all single use plastic onsite by 2021.

The core message of the campaign is re-use not single-use. From the plastic-wrapped festival homepages, customers will be able to pre-order limited edition ‘Drastic On Plastic’ metal water bottles, immediately taking action to reduce the use of disposable materials

This is the beginning of a firm commitment from the wider festival industry, with positive talks underway with various festival membership organisations in the UK and across Europe, with the aim of engaging hundreds more festivals to commit by the end of 2018.

38.5 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every day and 91% of that plastic is not recyclable. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “It is encouraging and inspiring that so many AIF members have taken this initiative and pledge on-board without hesitation and are taking a collective stand against single-use plastic. This is one of the most critical issues facing our businesses and wider society. By working together as an industry and taking affirmative action, we can make a tangible difference.”

Co-founder of Bestival and AIF Rob da Bank said: “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. This is exactly the sort of work the AIF needs to be doing – leading the global charge against essentially unnecessary plastic at all our festivals.”

Melinda Watson, founder of RAW, said: “Plastic pollution has been described as ‘the apocalyptic twin of climate change’. We need to take urgent action on this critical issue. 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’.”

Chris Johnson, co-founder and operations director of Shambala Festival, added:”There’s loads that festivals can do to design out disposable plastics such adopting reusable cups, banning drinks sales in plastic and encouraging festival goers to bring re-fillable water bottles. Festivals inspire change in people, so we just need to take the steps collectively and create the new normal – a better normal.”