PORTOBELLO TENTS & RAW FOUNDATION
We love festivals; we love the music, the dancing, the crossing paths of different tribes and new connections made, laughter and new discoveries, but over the last few years we’ve become dismayed and frustrated at the amount of waste we see left behind after the party ends. In particular the amount of plastic waste. After one particular event last year we removed almost a quarter of a tonne of waste from our tents alone. Most of this was plastic items of some sort, and a very large proportion of this was plastic drinks bottles, most of which had been opened but still had drink left in them.
It’s also thirsty work erecting and furnishing almost 100 tents, especially in the heat of the English sun (it doesn’t always rain, remember Glastonbury last year?) so it’s important we keep our crew hydrated. How do we do this? Bottled water, crates and crates of it throughout the season, which means crates and crates of waste plastic water bottles.
Sadly, due to the difficulties of accessing recycling facilities at different sites around the country, this waste often ends up in landfill where it will remain for 100’s of years before breaking down and entering our environment. This doesn’t make us feel good (and we’re all about feeling good!), so at the end of last season we decided we had to do something, we wanted to be part of the solution and not the pollution.
Enter Raw Foundation! Raw Foundation's mission is to “educate, engage and empower young people to identify and accelerate a shift towards sustainable consumption and production” ie. to get people to think about what they consume and the hidden consequences of the everyday stuff they use. Their “Making Waves Campaign”* (*see link at the bottom of News piece)
is focused on reducing the amount of oil-based plastic in the environment and raising awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. Since 2014 Raw Foundation have worked with a number of festivals offering advice and guidance on how to minimise plastic waste at events, and providing free water points. They’ve even produced festival guides* (*see link at the bottom of News piece) for both organisers and go-ers alike, which we highly recommend!
So, with Raw’s focus already on raising awareness about plastics and cleaning up festivals we sensed a synchronicity and a partnership was born!
*Photograph: Andy Hughes MA RCA
Here at Portobello Tents we believe small actions make big differences. After meeting with Raw Foundation founder Mel Watson and educating ourselves about the plastic pollution problem, we’ve decided to focus on a few small things we believe can make a difference:
Stainless Steel Water Bottle - we’ve collaborated with Raw to produce this cool, reusable, food grade stainless steel water bottle. For every bottle sold we’ll donate £4 to the Raw Foundation mission. Stainless steel is more environmentally friendly to produce, won’t rust, is durable, can be recycled again and again and doesn’t release harmful toxins if left to degrade in landfill. Available in our shop soon* (*see link at the bottom of News piece).
The #plastic pledge - this year we’ll be taking a company plastic pledge to reduce our plastic footprint both on and off sites. We’ll be asking others to join us too. Watch this space for more on this later!
Reduce our use - in previous years we’ve used plastic bags to transport our soft furnishings, which leads to lots of plastic bag waste. This year we’ve commissioned bespoke bags that should last as long as we do.
Awareness - we hope to spread awareness of this serious issue through information via social media, the sale of more environmentally friendly items in our shop (insert link to shop) and talking to our guests.
Learn more about the RAW Foundation “Making Waves Campaign”
View the Making Waves Guide to Plastic – Free Festivals and Events
Visit the Portobello Tents SHOP!
We realise it’s impossible to be completely plastic free in today’s world, but we believe that by implementing these few steps we can begin to reduce our plastic footprint and help reduce plastic pollution.
Thank you for reading and we hope you’ll support us in this and please…
BE FANTASTIC, FIGHT THE PLASTIC!
The Portobello Team x