Zero waste guidelines for events and festivals

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When people hear the term ‘zero waste’ for the first time, the common response is to think that it sounds unrealistic. Zero waste however is not so much about a goal as about a philosophy that says waste is never a good thing, so rather than just accept waste as inevitable - let’s work towards minimising it. Zero waste is similar to the ideals of ‘zero accidents’ at work or ‘zero defects’ in manufacturing. Zero waste is a ‘whole system’ approach that requires a rethinking of how materials flow through our society, and a redesign of those systems to minimise material requirements and maximise material use. Events and festivals represent a great opportunity to increase visitor flows and offer a variety of entertainment opportunities for local residents and tourists, even outside of the high tourist season. In recent years, the proposals for events and festivals have multiplied, for example: cultural and sports events, food and wine, music or cinema festivals. In the Adriatic area, there are various events that attract thousands of people and in turn have a positive impact on the local economy. At the same time however, these large gatherings produce an increase of water and energy consumption together with waste of food and various other materials. In other words, hundreds or thousands of people may gather to enjoy a festival or other event and in doing so they generate thousands of tonnes of waste – such as empty bottles, used paper plates, plastic cutlery and glasses, unwanted food and drinks, waste water, packaging, general waste, plastic bags – and imply other negative effects to the natural environment.

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