Rock n Roll n Recycle

Kathy Foley had an interesting column in the Sunday Times the other weekend about the Electric Picnic and the efforts of the organisers to put on “one of the most impressive environmental showcases ever assembled in Ireland”. Foley points out that “not only does the Picnic boast recycling bins, eco-friendly loos, reusable beer cups and a raft of other green initiatives, but this year it features The Global Green, where festival-goers can watch films, visit exhibits and attend debates and workshops about environmental issues such as oil and climate change.”

I didn’t make it down to the festival, but I heard a festival representative on Morning Ireland on RTE harp lyrically about all the wonderful eco initiatives that they were running. It’s all well and good, but the majority of these well meaning initiatives don’t work unless there is an incentive there for consumers.

One of the initiatives that did work to an extent though was the reusable beer cups, effectively a surcharge on alcohol that had to be paid by concert goers that had to be paid unless they held onto the cup for further consumption. This system of incentivisation could also have been applied to the concert cleanup. The festival organisers reported that festival goers recycled approximately 30% of their waste.

One way to improve upon this figure would be to incentivise the concert cleanup. Springwise reports on the Rosklide festival in Denmark where concert goers were given recylcing bags to collect waste and get “rewards in the form of free beer or chocolate milk for each bag collected, along with a chance to win more beer, festival kits, tents or tickets to next year’s event. Through a competition sponsored by Tuborg, collectors of the most garbage (1,048 bags!) also won backstage passes to Neil Young’s performance. For recyclables, meanwhile, Roskilde provided stands to collect cans, cardboard, drink containers and more. In exchange, participants were reportedly rewarded with cash refunds of roughly EUR 0.10 per bottle, allowing the most zealous of the festival’s 67,000 paying attendees to come close to recouping the cost of their tickets. About 97 percent of the cups used at Roskilde’s concession stands were brought back for recycling as a result, according to PSFK. Meanwhile, more than 1,600 sleeping bags left behind were donated to the homeless.

Given the mess that was left behind at Oxegen this summer, one would hope to see a similar scheme rolled out at next year’s festival. Fair dues to the Electric Picnic organisers for getting the ball rolling.

On a similar note, PSFK picks up on another interesting example of how consumers can be incentivised to minimise their waste – a food buffet that adds a charge for any of its customers with leftovers on their plates. It also serves as a good example as to why water charges need to be reintroduced in Ireland.


3 Responses to “Rock n Roll n Recycle”  

  1. 1 Will Knott

    I may have the wrong festival, but didn’t the promoters of Oxygen encourage the patrons to leave their camping equipment behind as “donations” to the Irish Scouting groups (who were due to take over Punchestown a few weeks after).

    Any figures on how much salvageable equipment remained, and how much was trash?

  2. 2 Piaras

    Would be interesting to see stats on that Will given the mess that was left behind judging from the photos. Great to see the scouts involved in the festival cleanup all the same though.

  1. 1 Cause and Connect:10 inspiring case studies how Youth Brands use good causes to sell | mobileYouth - youth marketing mobile culture research


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