Back in May 2018 while relaxing with a beer at Holmfirth Festival of Folk, a highlight of the Holmfirth social calendar, I was struck by a scene blighted with litter, overflowing bins and the ubiquitous (but despised) single use pint pot. This marked a pivotal moment for me, despite the convivial drinking, dancing and socialising: I HAD to do something about this shocking waste – it actually made me want to stay away from the event.

A bit of digging revealed that Holmfirth’s biggest venue (just one of a dozen licenced premises at the time) routinely bought and disposed of a shocking 20 – 30,000 pint pots during a festival weekend. Surely nobody was is favour of this? A few more enquiries led me to Holmfirth Transition Town (HoTT) who have a team of volunteers tackling waste and recycling, organisers of the Festival of Folk and Holmfirth’s Nook Pub who already had an established branded reusable pint pot deposit scheme. It was clear that there were other key players out there thinking along the same lines. With businesses and organisers on board, the next step was to talk to festival goers. How would they react to the introduction of a reusable ‘plastic glass’ scheme? Was waste and recycling a cause for concern?

During the September Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival I piggy backed on a waste and recycling stall organised by HoTT. I took to the streets to chat to festival goers, stall holders and businesses. Questionnaire in hand, I listened to peoples’ views on the waste generated at festivals like these. The results were encouraging: visitors told me that recycling and waste reduction were a priority for them. They were used to the larger events having drinking glass schemes, over half said they would like to reuse coffee cups too. Almost all said they were willing to pay £1 ormore for reusable packaging to stop waste going straight to landfill. A parallel was drawn between a system like this and supermarkets’ ‘bag for life’ scheme:  a shift in shopping habits that is now widely accepted. Could it become the norm to either ‘bring your own’ or pay per purchase?

By May 2019 the Holmfirth Festival Pint Pot was born. Bought by bars at 75pence a unit, they are sold to festival – goers for £1. Branded and hard wearing, they can be washed and reused many times. Tried and tested by both the Nook and Huddersfield Live, 9,000 pint pots were purchsed alongside a much larger order from Holmfirth Picturedrome. Paid for up front by bars and stall holders, the stock of 9,000 should last roughly two years of festivals for Holmfirth, longer if punters start to bring their own in future.

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