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Our man in the USA!

This from our US Greener Festival Awards co-ordinator, Jarno Stegman.

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Solar power at the San Francisco Kingsday Festival stage
Solar power at the San Francisco Kingsday Festival stage

About a year and a half ago I moved from London to San Francisco. I announced my move via Facebook and, almost instantly, Claire contacted me with the request to become a coordinator for A Greener Festival in America. And, oh yeah, that also includes Canada. I said yes, and soon thereafter I was trying to find assessors for several participating festivals.

San Francisco is definitely the hub of sustainability and green initiatives in the US. Recycling is expected of you at home, in cafés and restaurants and in the streets. The same is expected of events and festivals organisers. 

In 2009 the city adopted the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance. This means that events in the city are required to recycle and compost (SF Environment, 2014). Event staff must be educated how to identify and separate materials, colour-coded containers must be used at events, and you’re expected to have a recycling and composting plan (SF Environment, 2014).  

Food vendors can no longer use styrofoam containers and drink cups must be compostable. From the 1st of October 2014 the “Bottled Water Ban” comes into effect. This means that no bottled water can be sold or distributed on city property. Festivals like Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park and Stern Grove Festival, in Stern Grove Park, among many others will be affected by this. Sporting events (marathons ie) and SF Pride are exempt from the ban until 2018 (SF Environment, 2014).

Having been involved in the organization of Dutch Kingsday Festival in Golden Gate Park this year, a 4,000 capacity family festival, we already implemented the water bottle ban. Our stage was also 100% powered by solar panels. “Orange goes green”… so to speak.I’m getting ready for another festival season with A Greener Festival. Already more American and Canadian festivals take part in our award scheme this year compared to 2013. Great news! Let’s hope it’ll be a good and green festival year!