The future of clubbing is green
Last 25th September, Oval Space teamed up with Eventbrite to present A Greener Blueprint, an evening of networking and talks about the sustainability of clubbing.
The event consisted in a panel discussion involving local institutions of the likes of Friends Of The Earth, OLIO and Tail & Twist, who shared interesting insights and some best practices for sustainability within the events industry.
Organising and hosting the event was Oval Space, venue that recently launched, together with sister-club The Pickle Factory, the initiative Oval Green, with the goal of becoming more environmentally responsible.
The project aims at banning single use plastic cups, bottles and wristbands from both venues and replacing them with Life Water, a zero plastic, BPA free and locally sourced alternative that is fully recyclable. At any event hosted at the two venues, customers are now also able to bring their own re-usable bottles, provided they're empty and not designed for single-use.
The goal is pretty ambitious: Oval Green looks at replacing 60,000 plastic cups and 3,200 single-use plastic water bottles per month. The two venues are also committed to spread the message among other businesses, starting from their suppliers, encouraging them to stop relying on single-use plastic packaging.
To offset the costs of the initiative, Oval Space and Pickle Factory have implemented the Green Tax, a £1 increase on the ticket price for all events happening at both venues. This money will go towards buying biodegradable cups, waste disposal, recycling and cleaning costs and the remainder will be donated to organisations fighting for a greener future.
The Green Tax and the cost of sustainability point out the importance of awareness and responsibility, topics that were explored during the panel and in particular by Friends of The Earth, a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the natural world and OLIO, a platform connecting neighbours with each other and with local businesses to share surplus food.
More than just presenting terrifying figures or impressive numbers from their campaigns, Anna Lopez-Fujimaki from OLIO and Charlie Harmer-Barnes from Friends Of The Earth shared a somehow optimistic view, whose common message was focusing more on "doing something", collaborating and having a global conversation about sustainability, rather than just acknowledging the scary times we live in.
In a world where eco-anxiety, described by the American Psychological Association as “chronic fear of environmental doom”, is a rising problem, hearing a proactive message is quite refreshing. We need more spaces and platforms where an exchange of positive practices can happen and we need to act together, working collaboratively, instead of just calling out non-compliant businesses or customers.
This was also the core of the message delivered by Hadi Ahmadzadeh and Billy Mackie from Tail and Twist, curators of ECODISCO, London's first ever anti-plastic club night, where disposable cups are swapped for reusable metal versions.
If plastic is the main enemy, with consumers in the UK alone using around 13 billion bottles a year, the talk also sparkled interesting conversations about the need to change our whole usage approach, that shouldn’t just replace plastic with another single-use material.
We need perhaps a re-education on recycling, that comes from understanding that yes, you can use the same glass during the whole event and possibly re-use it at your next night out too!
This change of perspective doesn’t apply to plastic only: venues, on their side, will also need to gradually rethink the way they get their supplies, from fuel, energy or transportation to investing on local travel for artists and employees. Last but not least, the main objective of a global movement will be changing the law and make not possible anymore to pollute freely.
It is a process in which at all level we are still learning, but “no one is too small to make a difference”.
Written by / Stefania Trinchero
Pictures by / Alex Holyoake, Ryan Everton