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It’s a WRAP – waste at the Open

Submitted by Education on Tue, 14/05/2013 - 00:00

Our Green Team have been continuing efforts to ensure our Open event is more sustainable and we think it’s working. As we outlined in a previous post, dealing with waste is a priority for us. So we’ve been looking at WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), an independent not-for-profit organisation which looks to reduce waste and encourage the smarter uses of resources. They have produced the fantastic UK Events Roadmap which includes information about their vision of Zero Waste to Landfill for the events industry by 2020 and practical toolkits to support short, medium and long term planning of waste reduction in events.

We used this as a basis for discussing overarching aims and practical strategies for waste management as well as the broader sustainability agenda for the Open at our Working Group meeting. We decided that our overall purpose was:

  • To make the Open a more sustainable event, year on year
  • To raise the profile of sustainability at Bow Arts amongst our stakeholders

And then came up with the following practical ideas:

  • Holding an artist swap shop before the event to encourage re-use of resources rather than simply throwing away the things they don’t want.
  • Food and drink: encourage our caterers to use recyclable or biodegradable cutlery and plates by including this on the brief. Introduce a ‘bring back’ scheme at the bar whereby punters pay a deposit for a cup or glass which they can claim back at the end of the night.
  • Recycling: have visible points for recycling using specific bins. We’ve done a bit of research and there are plenty of options such as buying cardboard bins which can then be recycled themselves after the event or hiring additional bins from Tower Hamlets local authority.
  • In addition, we’re looking at the most effective ways to promote green travel options to our visitors and local beer and soft drinks suppliers.

WRAP point out the need to record and analyse the sustainability impact of your event to track progress, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the amount of waste we produce this year to use as a benchmark for following years.  We’ll also be asking visitors about how they got to the Open. WRAP also emphasise the importance of communicating our sustainable aims and actions to all our stakeholders – so in addition to the blog, we’ll include information in our artist and general newsletters and publicity specific to the event.

In short, we’re getting there! And we’re also taking the long view; once we’ve gathered information and implemented actions this year, we’re confident we’ll be able to make the event greener each year.