The Fairyland Trust has been progressively eliminating plastic from its events since it started in 2001. Many other festivals and events are now trying to do the likewise (for example Shambala Festival).
“It’s not always easy” says Sarah Wise who co-ordinates Fairyland Trust events. “The event business has become as used to relying on plastic as have many other businesses, from retail to farming but it has to be done”.
“For instance we use canvas tents not plastic gazebos, use painted wood not printed plastic, avoid hiring stall-holders who generate waste such as plastic drinks cups, plastic containers, straws or bottles, and have now got rid of plastic details like cable ties. In 2018 we stopped using the small amounts of plastic glitter featured in our making Workshops, which are now all compostable – we’ve even replaced ‘google eyes’ with veg alternatives which are actually more real looking. We encourage visitors to use non-plastic face paint and cosmetics* instead, and we urge all other event managers to join us in eliminating plastic”.
[*See Lush lustres below – non plastic]
No Glitter Please
We’ve designed-out glitter from Workshops and use other things for magical highlighting. Face paint is a great alternative for your skin. Body marbling is now a festival trend although we don’t know whether the paint is entirely plastic-free.
Conventional shop-bought glitter is tiny fragments of coloured plastic: instant microplastic pollution as it drops off onto clothing or into the soil where it will get into the food chain as worms and other creatures eat it.
For our workshops we now use ‘edible glitter’ which seems to be mainly coloured sugar (and in some cases coloured sand).
Other festivals and events have also been cutting out glitter, eg Shambala. You can buy ‘bioglitter’ but some of it still includes some actual oil-based plastic and even if it doesn’t, there are conflicting views about how long it takes to breakdown in British soils and weather. Lush have a range of coloured shiny stuff based on artificial mica which is definitely not plastic. It’s a mineral – you can search the Lush website by ingredient and it is called Synthetic fluorphlogopite (!) … cut and paste it. But only the larger city Lush shops seem to stock it.
Above: how to find an alternative to plastic glitter – artificial mica lustres on Lush cosmetics by searching ‘Synthetic fluorphlogopite’ under ‘products’
How We Ended Plastic Glitter
Although it looks like shiny metal, plastic glitter is instant pollution.
Remind you of anyone?
All that glitters is not gold – we don’t think even Smaug would like gold plastic glitter.
(You can get coloured sand from educational suppliers or arts and crafts shops.)
Avoid New Plastic in Clothes
Many people dress up for The Real Halloween and Fairy Fair. We encourage everyone to dress up and look good without buying any new plastic. Many people do not realise that the majority of new clothes contain plastic: polyester, nylon, elastane, lycra and acrylic are all plastic. Our 2018 survey of Halloween childrens and adult costumes found most were made of polyester.
Please avoid new plastic if you can. See our tips.