Friends of the Earth appeal to Electric Picnic-goers to keep Stradbally clean and bring camping gear home.
3 Sep 2017
Friends of the Earth had a strong presence at Electric Picnic for the third year in a row with 150 Green Messengers on hand to divert as much waste as possible from landfills and incinerators into recycling and composting facilities. Their efforts included running a popular Deposit Return scheme with Festival Republic adding a refundable deposit onto the price each drink that can be redeemed at any one of their three refund points. But the environmental organisation is keen to carry on the momentum of all that good work through Monday as people pack up and make for home.
Friends of the Earth's Cara Augustenborg commented: "We had such a wonderful response to our initiatives since the Green Messengers swung into action on Friday morning. It already looks like we’ll exceed last year’s record of keeping 150,000 cups out of landfill by the end of the festival and it was great to see so many adults and kids being financially rewarded for doing the right thing at our Cup-Deposit refund stations. However, after witnessing the sad state of the concert site following last year's Picnic, we must appeal to festival-goers to follow up all their good work of the last few days by taking home their camping gear and being responsible about their waste before they hit the road.”
The 51,000 people who attend Electric Picnic generate at least 400 tonnes of waste. That’s over 8 kg of waste per person in just three days, excluding all the tents and clothing left behind. Last year's Electric Picnic revellers left behind a graveyard of discarded canvas, broken poles, abandoned chairs, stools, sleeping bags, food, clothes and soggy litter. In 2016, many festival-goers were under the false impression that left-over tents and sleeping bags would all be donated to charity, but the potential reach of a few small initiatives were over-estimated and more trash than ever was left behind. This year, there are eight charitable organisations with approximately 100 volunteers in total who will salvage as much reusable equipment as possible, but they can collect very little so most waste is likely to be incinerated or end up in a landfill.
"The otherwise beautiful Stradbally landscape was blighted beyond belief after previous festivals. It would be very sad to see that happen again after such a great event." said Dr. Augustenborg, adding: "The ideal scenario would be for festival-goers to leave no trace after them but if they can't take everything home, we implore them to throw their unwanted gear in the ample rubbish and recycling containers provided by Festival Republic. Ireland is such a beautiful country, and Electric Picnic is both musically and visually stunning. We hope festival goers can show their appreciation for those aesthetics before closing the door on Electric Picnic 2017. ”
Friends of the Earth’s Green Messengers also spent the weekend collecting signatures for their “Run On Sun” petition, asking Leo Varadkar (a regular attendee of Electric Picnic) to establish a fair payment for solar power. While Varadkar signed the petition as Minister for Social Protection in 2016, he did not attend the festival this year to comment on his intent to follow through as now Taoiseach. The public can join Friends of the Earth’s call for Varadkar to pay citizens who generate solar electricity for the national grid at www.foe.ie.
For media inquiries:
- Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Head of Communications, Friends of the Earth Ireland: firstname.lastname@example.org
- More information on Friends of the Earth’s Run On Sun campaign for a fair payment on solar power is available here:https://www.foe.ie/news/2017/09/01/leo-urged-to-let-there-be-light-from-electric-picnic-2017/
- A humorous video of our Electric Picnic Green Messengers searching for Leo Varadkar at Electric Picnic to ask him for a fair payment for solar power is here: https://youtu.be/e-0Yiv_hJH4
- More information on Friends of the Earth’s work at Electric Picnic is available in this blog from 2016: http://www.caraaugustenborg.com/latest-news/everything-i-ever-needed-to-know-i-learned-at-electric-picnic-hard-truths-about-waste