All over the world, festivals – whether small or large – are becoming more aware of their ecological footprint and the potential consequences live entertainment can have to the environment. From the direct impact of waste and physical production over land, to the indirect impact of flying in artists from around the world, now more than ever should festivals become conscious and active regarding this issue. While there’s a number of efforts an individual can do to promote the cause, tackling this matter requires systemic change that’s rooted in the decision-making process of institutions all around. In the form of a start-up, there is one entity at the core of the movement to eliminate single use plastic entirely. And it’s based out of Montréal.
The Green Stop is an initiative providing cost-effective refill stations that offer free clean drinking water “in a faster, smarter and more environmentally friendly manner”. Appalled by the destructive level of waste in the oceans during a 21-day sailing expedition, founder Rachel Labbe Bellas saw the need of developing a way for people to easily access clean drinking water while they are on the go. Removing the need to purchase water bottles tackles the excessive levels of waste disposal festival goers produce. In the UK alone, festivals produce 23,500 tonnes of waste annually. Glastonbury, the largest festival in the country, averaged around 1.3 million plastic bottles being disposed of every year, and have therefore decided to restrict the sale of single-use plastic bottles. As the days get warmer and the festivals more populated, open access to water becomes everso necessary.
After its first successful trial at Osheaga and Piknic Electronik last summer, The Green Stop has seen a multitude of reputable awards being handed to them. So far, the start-up has participated in 8 events, claiming to have saved 140,000 water bottles. This remarkable effort continues its movement towards future festivals within the city. A confirmed Evenko collaboration will see a second installment at Osheaga and IleSoniq this summer, along with Tribu‘s action sports festival Jackalope. Festival-goers in Montréal will be able to bring their own water bottles (or purchase on site) and constantly refill them without the tiresome wait that many would refuse if this solution wasn’t present. The implementation of a consistent and effective source of hydration is even more significant considering the need to stay hydrated in festival settings.
The journey to complete eco-friendly music festivals requires a multidisciplinary and revolutionary approach from the likes of both organizers, institutions and attendees. Eliminating single-use plastics is one of the many vital steps these gatherings must take to tackle waste and consumption. The Green Stop may seem like a modest initiative from afar, but there is no doubt that it contributes to setting the fuse that will light the future of the festival scene here in Montréal.