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Glastonbury music festival in 2014. Photo: AFP

Glastonbury festival banning plastic bottles in 2019


Glastonbury festival is to implement a site-wide ban on plastic bottles when it returns in 2019. “It’s an enormous project; it’s taking a lot of time to tackle with all the different people we work with,” organiser Emily Eavis told BBC 6 Music.

In 2014, Glastonbury introduced environmentally friendly stainless steel bottles and water kiosks for the cost-free refill of any kind of receptacle, followed in 2016 by stainless steel pint cups designed to be “non-aerodynamic, to minimise injuries from throwing”. Use of these containers was optional.

Tents pitched at the Glastonbury festival in 2015. Photo: AFP

Glastonbury organisers have previously estimated that 1m plastic bottles are used during the event.

In 2016, the festival implemented its “Love the farm … leave no trace” initiative, asking punters to share transport to the festival, limit litter, recycle, refill water bottles and not to abandon their tents or urinate on the land. However, that year’s clean-up was thought to be one of the worst in its history, lasting more than two weeks after the end of the event.

One of several plastic bottles thrown at American film star Keanu Reeves while playing bass with his band Dogstar at Glastonbury in 1999. Photo: ELECTRONIC IMAGE

There is no Glastonbury festival this year, with the festival taking one of its regular “fallow years”. The event returns in 2019, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020.

Glastonbury is a long-term supporter of Oxfam. In the wake of recent allegations of sexual misconduct by employees in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Eavis said the festival would continue to support the charity.

Courtney Love spits water from a plastic at the crowd during her band Hole’s performance at Glastonbury. Photo: AP

“Like everyone else, we’ve been horrified at the reports in the news,” she wrote in a statement posted on the festival’s website. “Oxfam assure us they are continuing to take action to ensure a vigorous safeguarding plan for the future. But let us not forget that abuse of power is a wider issue in society.”

Last year The Guardian spearheaded a campaign against plastic waste when it revealed that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, creating an environmental crisis.