Keeping local festivals eco-friendly


GOOD GREEN FUN A little forward planning can greatly reduce the environmental impact of going to a festival or community event.

Green Living
McKinley Neal

It’s finally summer, and it’s exciting to participate in the community events, festivals and other activities that are happening again. Now is the ideal opportunity to think about the way we organise and attend events so that we can ensure they have as little adverse impact on the environment as possible.
If you’re attending an event, spending a few minutes to think about what activities you will be doing and what you will need can reduce your greatly reliance on single-use plastics and save you money.
A reusable water bottle is an essential for everyone, including kids, and there are loads of styles and sizes to suit preferences. Refill water stations are now generally a staple at all events, or you can ask at any café or restaurant and they should be happy to refill a bottle with tap water.
A reusable flask or insulated cup will ensure you can get a hot drink as a take away at any time, or better yet, allow you to bring your own. We also love stainless steel containers and food pots, which also come in a variety of sizes, or snack bags, to bring our own meals and snacks or to get food from a stand.
Bring some cutlery and a kitchen towel from home to use as a napkin, to wrap food or clean up any spills. We always carry smaller cloths, too—you can buy them or cut sections from an old t-shirt—and wet them to wipe hands and faces or clean surfaces (soiled benches, shoes, etc).
If you are taking any other gear with you to an event, be sure to be prepared to bring home everything you pack in.
The amount of waste generated at many multi-day festivals in Ireland has been well-reported over the past several years, and it is shocking to see thousands of sleeping bags, tents, clothes and more left behind at the sites. Follow the principle of ‘Leave No Trace’ wherever you go.
From an organisation point-of-view, Mayo Pride will be hosted from July 1 to 3 in Westport, and the planning committee has been working to source merchandise as responsibly as possible. They have been choosing items such as flags, badges, t-shirts, signs and banners made from recycled materials by Irish companies as a priority, and PAX is supplying organic cotton totes to have printed with their logo. They will also rent an eco-bubble kit for their parade, which is a great alternative to confetti.
The campaign group 15 Minute Westport has planned events in the past making use of a rental party kit from PAX, which includes plates, cups, bowls and cutlery to serve tea and coffee. The Quay Community Garden has a principle of printing posters and banners without dates or other information that will change so they can be reused indefinitely (space can be left on a banner or sign for sticking on more details temporarily as needed).
Here’s to a summer of fun!

McKinley Neal co-runs PAX Whole Foods & Eco Goods, a minimal-waste shop in Westport offering bulk organic toods, reusable goods, household products, eco-trendly personal care Items and gifts.