In France, 60 festivals are committed to eliminating plastics

On January 22nd, inspired by a UK initiative, 60 festivals throughout France committed to organizing zero plastic events or at least to eliminate as much as possible the use of this material which destroys our environment, our oceans and threatens our health.

Even if France has banned disposable plates, cups and cutlery since January 1st there are still many plastic objects that are not always recycled or not recyclable at all. And good waste is waste that we do not produce at all.

According to the European Parliament, which voted in October 2018 to ban single-use plastic products, such as cutlery, cotton swabs, plates, straws or stirrers from 2021, these account for 70% of marine litter.

Festival photo by Krists Luhaers via Unsplash
@ Krists Luhaers

Inspired by the British AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) and the RAW Foundation, which launched “Drastic on Plastic” in 2018 and brought together some 60 festivals, several regional structures in France have decided to help festival organizers get rid of plastic. They have all signed a “Zero Plastic” charter launched by the Collectif des Réseaux régionaux d’accompagnement au Développement Durable (R2D2).

“We accompany the festivals that make this commitment. We offer an online guide and training courses throughout the year. Organisers can also follow a MOOC “Festival in transition” free of charge and accessible to all. For their part, they must be accountable for their efforts and progress”, explains Emilie Cherbonnel, communication officer of the Collectif des festivals de Bretagne, a member of R2D2.

“The festival public, which is very heterogeneous, is receptive and open to new experiments. What is offered on-site, which demonstrates the festival organizers’ assumption of responsibility, can serve as an example and a model to encourage citizens to reproduce these good practices in their daily lives,” says Emilie Cherbonnel.

“We encourage festivals, for example, to stop offering “goodies”, the plastic gifts offered to festival-goers, to install wooden or projected signs, to provide fountains to fill water bottles and to ban plastic bottles,” she continues. For the catering, the same principle applies: no individual packaging, compostable cutlery or better yet reusable.

The change is not just for festival-goers, but also for artists and technicians, even if it is not easy to eliminate all the plastic from the technical aspects, such as gaffer-type sticky paper, or cable-ties (colsons), those plastic rings used to tighten cables.

“There are alternative, reusable solutions to eliminate disposable plastic. It’s more expensive, of course, although in the long term it can be economical. It requires more organization and handling, but cost should not be the only indicator to be taken into account,” says Emilie.

The “Drastic on Plastic”, aimed at reducing plastic waste, is essential on three of the 17 SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the 193 member states of the United Nations.

  • SDG 12: Establishing sustainable consumption and production patterns (through sustainable management of natural resources and waste reduction).
  • SDG 14:  Protecting Aquatic Life (by preventing and reducing marine pollution from land-based activities)
  • SDG 15: Protecting the Earth’s Wildlife (by preserving terrestrial ecosystems and limiting the impact of our waste on wildlife)

These 17 SDGs aim to eradicate poverty in all its forms and in all countries, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.


Additional links:

UNRIC Backgrounder: Sustainable Development Goals


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