By RAHEL KÖNEN
A deposit system of reusable water bottles has been launched by Green Music Australia to help festivals reduce their environmental footprint.
The so-called Refill Not Landfill Library is part of the non-profit organisation’s BYO (bring-your-own) bottle campaign and contains a large stock of bottles, which can be hired by festival organisers for the period of their event.
After return, the bottles are cleaned and stored by Green Music Australia until another festival requests the service.
By supporting the use of free water refill stations and reusable water bottles on festival sites, the campaign and deposit system aims to prevent the distribution of single-use bottled water.
Green Music Australia Co-CEO Berish Bilander, founder of the BYO bottle campaign, said Australia had "really high quality" tap water.
“Bottled water is a marketing success, built to create profit and meet the needs of consumerism,” he said.
Last year, statistics revealed that one million plastic bottles are consumed each minute by humans worldwide.
A recent major study showed the world had accumulated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste, of which 91 per cent is not recycled. Most of it ends up in landfills and oceans, contributing to an irreparable damage to the environment.
Friends of the Earth waste and consumption co-ordinator Anine Cummins said another contributing factor was that “consumer choice has become more important than the general well-being of our world”.
“We live in a society that has encouraged us to switch off and not think about the amount of plastic that we're using,” she said.
“But we can’t assume that our convenience-based lifestyle is going to continue forever or that we are going to have unlimited access to cheap resources.
“Plastic is made out of fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are running out. It is not an indefinite resource.”
Through their campaigns, Mr Bilander and Ms Cummins try to create pathways for people to engage in wider, systemic transformation.
With the deposit system at their service, festival organisers can ask visitors to bring their own reusable bottle.
“And if certain people forget, organisers have got a back-up,” Mr Bilander said.
Thirty festivals have already committed to Green Music Australia’s cause and have promised to replace bottled water with tap water.
Even Splendour in the Grass, one of Australia’s biggest festivals, has agreed to phase out bottled water by 2021.
“And once you’ve opened that door with bottled water, it is much easier to address the next questions – what about plastic cups or take-away food in plastic containers?”
“That’s how the conversation moves forward.”