Last weekend, I decided to go and check out the Montenegro Beer Fest for the first time. The first thing I noticed was “UNDP Helping in Greening the Festival” in the list of sponsors ….
Bingo! As soon as I arrived, I saw one COMPOSTING BIN. Wow …. I was so happy to see composting spreading in Montenegro, as it is the simplest and cheapest and most effective way to reduce up to 40% of our waste going to the landfill!
But … here is the catch: I didn’t see any ‘regular/residual’ waste bins around. So I walk to the welcome counter and ask them:
Me: Where do people put their residual and recyclable waste: packaging or plastic bottles?
The girl: Oh, in the bins with the composting signs on them.
That was a disappointment. It would have been so easy to use those bins to reduce the waste at the festival, and also to raise awareness about composting.
Looking a bit closer at the composting bins, I recognized the sticker made for a previous EU-funded project. Were the composting bins never used as intended, stored in a communal building and then given to the festival to be used as a trash bin, with still the sticker on them?
I also checked the beer stand and saw that they were only giving single-use plastic glasses for every single drink that will be consumed during the festival. Thousands and thousands of them that would end up in landfill.
Reusable glasses have become the norm in many countries nowadays at festivals because they are extremely easy, simple and cheap to use. And they have a huge positive impact on waste reduction during a festival where tens of thousands of single-use plastic glasses are thrown away (and can’t be recycled in Montenegro yet).
Festival organizers simply need to get a few thousand long-lasting unbreakable plastic glasses with their logo before the event (for example from Festival Cup), put a 1 euro deposit on it with the first drink, let all stands use it as regular glasses in a bar (so wash them, exchange them for new drinks, etc), and leave festival-goers the possibility to keep it at the end or return it to get their deposit back. And reuse them the following year. Yes, it is THAT simple.
So no, the Beer Feest in Cetinje was far from being the first Zero Waste festival in Montenegro, so who will be the first?
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