6/09/2016

Rock am Rock 2016- the waste issue

As I have already mentioned in my general Rock am Ring 2016 post, I was surprised about that much trash at the event. Of course, events like RaR are (as I talked about previously here) a source of a lot of waste. But the fact, that the lawns were already a great garbage dump when we arrived, really did surprise me. A lot of people just threw their waste on the area around the tent or just let it fall where they were going at the moment. For me, that was really shocking; not, because I try to life zero waste but because I was raised in a way that I regard throwing garbage on the street is an absoulutely impossible no-go. I think, for the most people there it just occurred to be easy to just throw the trash away. For me, it was not a very nice view to see people literally living and sitting in their own trash.
I also, however, saw a lot of creativity of people 'recycling' their trash creatively, for example using a broken chair and grill as drums or (very popular) crafting animal puppets with empty beer cans and duct tape. The interesting ways, people used duct tape was an own art as well.

This 'art', however, ended up on the top of the huge garbage pile. For this, I also have some impressive photos:
source

So, how about my waste? I was far from zero waste. I, however, did produce less trash that the average festival visitor, because..
a.) I drank nothing out of cups. By this, I do not mean specifically drinking alcohol but drinking something in general. For my thirst, I had my 0,5 l water bottle that I refilled at the local wash basins.
b.) We brought some food there. Instead of purchasing everything we eat, we firstly ate our own food that was packaged only sometimes. Moreover, we did use actual cutlery to eat instead of using plastic and paper cutlery
c.) I did not throw my waste on the ground. This, of course, has nothing to do with producing no waste, but it is more about being social, I think. I put all of my trash in our bin liner, that we put into a garbage- collecting truck instead of pass on the duty of collecting garbage to volunteers and helpers of the festival.
d.) I only took a minimalist luggage with me. In there, I oly took one item that was thrown away later (a garabge bag) Apart from this, I took everything home in my backpack.
d.) I did not break any of my stuff and left it behind. I saw a lot of people just leaving their broken tent, chair, grill or other stuff at the festival arena. Apart from the fact that I did not break anything of mine, I think, I would have taken it with me to repair or dispose it properly.

Still, however, I produced rubbish, namely
- a lot of paper tissues and toilet paper to clean myself from dirt
- my printed out train tickets and plans of the festival. Partly, I will put this in my memory book.
- the platic paper snippet to turn on the stamp- train ticket braclet
- a 'bag' for a burger made of a kinda plastic- like paper
- a paper bag and a wooden disposable fork to eat noodles
- a bin liner that was not reusable after I carried home my dirty shoes with it
- a few drinking bottles, I originally collected to get the bottle deposit but could not redeem it after the festival was closed too early
- the bin liner, we put all the waste in
Also, together with my friend, I created the waste of
- more paper tissues and toilet pape
- the plastic packaging of fruit bars and chips

I see a few reasons that are the cause of this waste production:
a.) No experience in festivals
As I read that there would be a supermarket on the festival area, I thought: 'Well, then I'll buy there as much in bulk as possible and it will be okay.' Little did I know that there was a large queue in front of the market and presumably not too much opportunities to choose. It was my first festival, so I did not really know, what to prepare for
b.) Little experience in zero waste
I still have to figure out my zero waste essentials, so a zero waste kit that is easy to take with you anywhere and will help you to avoid waste. Although I packed reusable lunch boxes, fabric towels and a small plastic bag, it was spread all over my backpack and I did not want to carry it with me every time I leave the tent. So, I had no opportunity but to let my noodles be filled into a paper box.
So, in the future, I will try to gain enough experience in zero waste to establish a zero waste kit. Moreover, I have a lot of ideas improving comfort and waste production at a festivals like that what I will blog about soon.

Still, I think that it was a good first try on going zero waste on festivals. I will keep improving and definitely let you know about it!

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