As well as organising an urban and experimental festival in Cardiff this year, the National Eisteddfod is taking bold steps to substantially cut down on plastic on the Maes, and will impose a ban on single-use plastic across the festival from the 2019 Conwy County Eisteddfod.
This will be announced at the Eisteddfod Council meeting on Saturday, to coincide with the #drasticonplastic campaign running over the weekend.
Organisers of the festival, held in Cardiff Bay from 3-11 August, have contacted their stallholders and caterers to ban the use of plastic straws for drinks, and organisers are also working with the bar providers, Stedman Brothers, on an ambitious project banning the use of single-use glasses in the bars and introducing reusable glasses which are more environmentally friendly.
The festival is also producing reusable coffee / tea cups and water bottles for children, in the radical scheme, and festival Chief Executive, Elfed Roberts, has also called on visitors to support the project and look at their own plastic use when preparing to visit this year’s Eisteddfod.
He said, “It’s fair to say that we’ve been at the forefront when it comes to recycling for many years, and have worked hard to recycle as much as possible. Although we are very grateful to our visitors for helping us to recycle so much over the years, we have been questioning why so many bottles and plastic glasses need to be recycled.
“By introducing this scheme, we’re going a step further than merely recycling and we’re cutting down on the use of single-use plastic on the Maes, and this will help us to safeguard the environment. This is a substantial investment for the bar providers and the Eisteddfod itself, but we strongly feel that we have to tackle the overuse of single-use plastic, and I hope that other festivals in Wales will follow suit in the future.
“Sustainability is very important to us and our partners, and we are grateful to Welsh Water for their support once again this year, installing free drinking water stations around the Maes. This will enable visitors to refill their reusable water bottles during their visit.
“Of course, some people will be keen to enjoy a different or stronger drop to drink, and through our partnership with the bar providers, we’ll be introducing reusable plastic glasses. Visitors will pay £1 for the glass with their fist drink order, and will then swap it for a clean glass for the rest of the day. Visitors are welcome to keep their reusable glass at the end of their visit.
“We will also be working with the coffee and tea providers who are part of the Eisteddfod on the Maes, encouraging them to have a stock of our reusable cups, in the hope of cutting down on the number of cups which reach the recycling bin. And we’ve already banned the use of plastic drink straws and are encouraging our caterers and stallholders to look at using paper straws this year and to the future.
“This is the first year of an ambitious scheme leading to the total ban of single-use plastic on the Eisteddfod Maes. We are committed to protecting the environment and are calling on our visitors to join us so we can successfully deliver our aim.
“We are also encouraging people to think about their use of plastic throughout the year, as it is vitally important that we all cut down on single-use plastic for the benefit of the whole world. We can put plans in place which will help for a week, but we all need to look carefully at what we do throughout the year.
“And I hope that the scheme introduced this year will make people re-think before buying a plastic bottle of water, or to remember to grab their reusable coffee cup before rushing out of the house in the morning.”
The Eisteddfod is supporting the AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) project, which is campaigning for a ban on single-use plastic at festivals across the UK by 2021.
For more information on the Eisteddfod go to www.eisteddfod.wales.