At Junction 2 we realise that the importance of sustainable practice is now greater than ever and that large-scale events should aim to set a blueprint for other industries in the UK. We are therefore introducing a number of rules and policies that will help us establish a forward-thinking environment that will reduce the harmful impact and inspire our customers and co-workers to think about their actions in these crucial times.
The below shows most of the different things that we do at our shows and in our office BUT we are always open to other solutions and ideas and we would love to answer any additional questions you have.
Staff Water on Site
Pre-2018, during build, show day and break staff were using around 10,000 plastic bottles of water on site. We were saddened by this so we bought a load of reusable metal bottles with clips on (to attach to belt loops etc). Staff now have to use these and to make things easier for them we have a water-monitor to top their drinks up so they don’t have to go thirsty!
In the UK this is a complex business. You can segregate waste efficiently, but depending on where it is taken to depends on whether it actually gets recycled or just ends up in landfill. We find out as much information from whichever cleaning company we use to make sure we use the best materials for their particular waste plant. There is a lot of chat about ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’ materials; these are actually just as harmful as plastic if they end up in landfill, there are very few composting sites across the UK (and think of the fuel to get them there), and things biodegrading actually produce a lot of harmful gases.
Waste Collecting & Disposal
We work with one of the best waste companies, they actually care about the environment. They are more expensive than other companies, but that is because they need more staff to separate the rubbish backstage. They recycle as much as they possibly can. Many others claim to do this, we have found that they don’t. We even went to a recycling plant to understand how it works and what the limitations are.
All of them use Vegware or similar products (better than Styrofoam type products) and wooden cutlery. We work with them on site to ensure they segregate their own waste back of house. Our cleaning teams are in contact with them throughout the event to ensure everyone’s working to meet the goals that we set. Their food, packaging and cutlery is then sent to a facility that has industrial composting systems. Yay!!
All our signage is reused from show to show (even if it doesn’t fit with ‘brand guidelines’). We have now started to become more conscious of this and design things that are more generic. All the signage & scrim is put up using reusable cable ties or toggles (where possible – although this will be in most places).
We reuse as much décor as possible. If something becomes tired, we try and repurpose it and use it for something else. We are currently using the Labyrinth giant heads as noise baffles in our echoey meeting room!
Our onsite compost toilets provided by Loowatt are totally waterless and money raised is used to build toilets for deprived communities in Madagascar.
We no longer use single use plastic cups for pints, 1/2 pints and spirits from our bars. From 2019 customers will use hard, reusable cups when purchasing a drink. We are still working on a solution for selling shots. We tried reusable cups previously at another event of ours and found it was just a greenwashing* solution and that we ended up throwing a greater weight of plastic in landfill due to cups shattering when thrown on the floor. We have spent days researching and we have found our preferred cup researching supplier, who is giving us cups that can truly be re-used many times. We have also been researching alternative drink containers, like wine in cans or big bags. It is our aim to try and find the best solution across all aspects of the bar. This is no easy feat. Even alternative straws are greenwashing, the best thing to do is just not use a straw! We are also encouraging our customers to only purchase 1 plastic water bottle (or bring their own in) and refill their bottle from the bars and water points on site.
Travel & Vehicles
The vast majority of our customers travel to the site via public transport, reducing their carbon footprint. In order to check the actual ratio, and see how we can improve, we intend to survey our customers on entry. We encourage the artists to travel via public transport where possible (can you guys help us with this, and ask your favourite artists to reduce the flights they take and to reduce their taxi and car use when in a city?). We have further introduced a no-idling policy (ie turn your engine off when not moving) on site for site vehicles.
We are encouraging customers to pay a carbon donation when buying their ticket to help offset their carbon footprint for the event. It would be good if artists did this too. Again, help us to encourage them by contacting them on social media.
Currently all power on site is provided by efficient diesel generators but we are looking into tapping into the National Grid to reduce emissions. We will be monitoring our generators usage throughout the construction and event period to give us more stats.
We will run an estimate on carbon footprint generated by the event deliveries. All of the above will help us better understand the impact we have and the goals we need to hit to achieve a neutral carbon footprint in the future.
Money raised from our guest list donations are split between various local community projects, with one of these being Hedgehog Hotels. Hedgehogs are an important part of the natural ecosystem, yet their numbers are diminishing rapidly. Hedgehog hotels provide a safe place for hedgehogs to build a home, hibernate in the winter and raise hoglets come spring. Following the 2019 event, Junction 2 will sponsor the build of a number of hotels in Boston Manor Park to ensure their safe environment is preserved regardless of the event we introduced. In the past we have also given money to a lovely Forest School, this is important for the environment too as it means the next generation can have a connection to wildlife, plants and nature.
*Greenwashing is the circulation of unsubstantiated and/or misleading claims that a company, its services, and its practices, are more environmentally friendly than they actually are.