Bestival promoters have today announced plans to ban plastic straws from their events, which include Bestival, Camp Bestival and Common People, for 2018, and are working to make the practice a UK festival standard. The initiative will then extend to include all single-use plastics, including drinks bottles and bar cups.

Following a successful trial at 2017’s Bestival, when biodegradable paper straws replaced plastic, promotersJosie and Rob da Bank are launching The Final Strawcampaign to purge plastic straws from the festival landscape. Northamptonshire’s Shambala, Kendal Calling and Cheshire’s bluedot have already signed up, and now Josie and Rob are urging fellow festival promoters to join them.

Commenting on the Final Straw campaign, Dr Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society Head of Clean Seas said: “We’re are delighted to see that Bestival are banning plastic straws from their events this year, and extending it to other single-use plastic too. We’ve found thousands of straws at our beach cleans and these simple steps can help people reduce their plastic footprint. We urge other businesses and festivals to follow Bestival’s move and ask everyone to join the Marine Conservation Society call to #stoptheplastictide.”

Shambala’s Operation Director and Sustainability Lead,Chris Johnson commented: “Disposable plastics at festivals is part of the wider phenomenon of single-use for convenience in society. The whole planet is completely addicted, but festivals can model the change we need to see to make the future a great place to be.”

Bestival promoter Rob da Bank said: “My wife, and fellow Bestival founder, Josie made the decision to ban plastic straws at the festival last year along with a load of new green initiatives. Festivals are potentially big consumers of plastics and non-recyclables and all of us in the festival world need to keep working on reducing those elements at our festivals. Hats off to those already doing it and leading from the front… and to the rest of us let’s make it happen!’

Kendal Calling & bluedot Festival Director, Ben Robinson added: “Festival culture has always been inspired by the search for alternative experiences and radical action. Making the psychological change to not accepting single use plastics as ‘normal’ or acceptable is something we can support in the fields and take home to our everyday lives. Small changes that make a difference everyday are what will drive the global movement to save our planet and our oceans from the current hammering they are getting with the waste created from day to day convenience items in our society. We can all survive without straws pretty easily.”

The Final Straw campaign aims to have all UK festivals committed to eradicating plastic straws in 2018 by Earth Day on 22nd April, prior to the festival season beginning, before extending the initiative to include all single-use plastics at festivals in subsequent years. Collectively, the festival community could have a huge impact in reducing the estimated 70 million straws that will end up in landfill or polluting the seas this year alone, and together the industry has the potential to become a major force in changing people’s attitudes to all single-use plastics. Join the Final Straw and let’s have a summer of plastic straw-free parties.