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Cambridge Folk Festival

Greening The Blue

I'm sure there's many a Cambridge Folk Festival fan that will remember the great snakes of thin plastic pint pots that used to spiral around the site. Normally constructed by groups of kids twisting their way through the field only to be abandoned in the dark and vanished by the clean up crews in the morning.

I'm guessing very few of us at the time were thinking that it was a lot of plastic to end up in landfill or drifting around the Atlantic ocean, but someone at Cambridge obviously was as it was the first major festival to move away from those infamous thin plastic pint glasses to reusable pint and half pint cups, with the kids moving from making snakes to minesweeping the cups for the deposits.

Of course, you could also argue that the Cambridge Festival Tankard was the first fully reusable drinking vessel available at the festival, but I detract.

This year Cambridge is going one step further and looking to eliminate one use plastics completely. Cambridge has always been an environmentally thoughtful festival and it's great to see it wearing those honours with pride.

Rebecca Stewart, Operations Manager said: "We have always tried to stay ahead of the game when it comes to environmental issues and we're really proud of our ethos and success with green initiatives. We try to work a year ahead, letting traders know that we had made the decision to go single use plastic free in 2019. This year is the first year we will see the difference, estimating it will save over 15,000 bottles from entering the waste stream and accounting for a huge reduction on our overall waste."

For 12 years, Cambridge Folk Festival bars have operated the cup deposit scheme, saving over a million plastic cups from waste to date and the past five years have seen vendors offer discounts for those using reusable coffee cups. For over a decade, caterers have used biodegradable packaging and utensils, with a ban on plastic straws and stirrers enforced since 2017.

Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities at Cambridge City Council, said: "The city council declared a climate emergency in February and we are proud of all the work being done by the Festival team to reduce the waste and environmental impact of this incredible event. In addition to being one of the most environmentally friendly music festivals in the country, underlined by our Outstanding Greener Festival Award, Cambridge has to be one of the most family-friendly, complete with children's concerts and a paddling pool."

With the festival just two weeks away, those with tickets really will have an opportunity to make it green with envy.

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