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Sunflower Fest promotes 'Refill Not Landfill' message

With over 500 summer music festivals gathering in the UK alone they can have major adverse affects on the environment. One of the most worrying issues is the vast use of single-use plastic that heads straight to landfill. However, many festival's are now looking to take a more eco-friendly approach and play their part to reduce their impact on the environment.

The ‘Sunflower Fest’ runs for 3 days in July in Hillsborough, County Down, Northern Ireland. Offering a range of entertainment, the festival provides live music, art workshops and showcases of the best in NI’s produce and talent. With their theme of ‘One Earth’, this year the festival are aiming to improve their carbon footprint by reducing, reusing and recycling more than ever;"We are all here on this 'one planet ' together with a shared future using the same finite resources, so let's work together and try and improve our environment and future together. Let's start thinking about new ways to live sustainably and harmoniously on our One Earth".

The festivals motto is ‘refill not landfill’. Organisers are encouraging attendees to invest in a good tent that can be used again in years to come in order to reduce the disposal of tents to landfill. To encourage the reuse of water bottles, this year at the festival NI Water and WaterAid will be giving away free reusable water bottles and providing a refilling station at the festival too. The festival will be providing separate bins for cans, plastics and food waste and encouraging everyone to help the environment by sorting their waste into the appropriate bins.

The festival encourages attendees to help the environment by:

  • Separating waste, recycling and using the correct bins.
  • Keeping the campsite and festival site tidy.
  • Bringing reusable bottles/cups for water and coffee/tea.
  • Only bringing what you need and making sure everything you bring is either brought home or recycled.
  • Attending one of the talks on sustainability.

Furthermore, this year the festival is actively participating in ‘The Final Straw’ initiative and the ‘Drastic on Plastic’ campaign to purge plastic straws from the festival and reduce single use plastics on site. 

The festival also protects and enhances their site, ‘Tubby’s Farm’, by planting thousands of trees on the farm. The birdlife and wildlife are abundant and varied, and the farm is stunningly beautiful as a result. The owners have also avoided the use of harmful artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Native shrubs and flora are planted to enrich the soil and provide much needed food and shelter for wildlife and some of Northern Ireland’s most endangered species.

Festival-organiser Michael Magowan said, "We're all on this planet together; regardless of boundaries and borders. So let's all pull together.Let's improve our chances of preserving and improving our existence on our planet.”

‘Festival Vision: 2025’ is a shared vision for a sustainable festival industry. It was conceived as part of ‘The Show Must Go On’ report, a festival industry response to the 2015 global climate change talks in Paris. The vision is to halve the emissions produced by the festival industry and reach 50% recycling rates by 2025. With over 40 UK music festivals pledging to work together to create a more environmentally sustainable festival industry it’s hoped this ‘Festival Vision: 2025’ will lead to a sustainable future for UK festivals.

Latitude Festival, a supporter of ‘Festival Vision: 2025’ and winner of the ‘Best Major Festival 2017’ has also strived to reduce their impact on the environment and become a sustainable festival. Last year the festival sent no waste to landfill for the third year running; 59% was recycled and 41% went to energy from waste. 

Wood festival, in Oxfordshire, is a festival which is entirely powered by renewable energy sources such as solar panels, biodiesel and wood burning stoves. The festival aims to be as eco-friendly as possible and has recycled 85% of all its waste in the past. For its efforts, it was awarded a full four star rating from eco-organisation ‘A Greener Festival’.

More information about Sunflower Fest