1st of March 2019


A festival in Hastings is working with a local taxi company to try and get their town’s pubs and bars to turn their backs on single use plastic.

Now in its tenth year, Hastings Fat Tuesday is the UK’s largest Mardis Gras celebration, with 250 free gigs taking place across 30 venues in the first week of March. However, in recent years the festival’s 11,000 revellers have gone through an estimated 50,000 single use plastic cups.

To address the issue, the festival team are working with taxi firm, Hastings 247, to introduce a reusable cup which can be used at all venues participating in the event across the town. “As a taxi company, we continuously see all of the heaps of plastic cups which are left behind after outdoor festivals and bank holidays across the town, and we wanted to do something about it,” said Stew Smith from Hastings 247. “We collaborated with Fat Tuesday, and environmental group, Surfers Against Sewage, to create a reusable cup which can be used across the festival, and kept for life.”

Festival director, Bob Tipler, explained “The challenge for us was that Fat Tuesday runs across 30 independent bars, pubs and venues. While several greenfield festivals have done incredible work to reduce plastics in recent years, we believe that we’re the first multi-venue event to go single use plastic free. Fortunately we have very good relationships within the community, and we found that without exception everyone was very keen to take this step in the right direction.” Additionally, the festival have bulk purchased compostable pint and half pint cups at a discounted rate, which they have circulated throughout a ll venues to ensure that no disposable plastics will be used anywhere. Tipler explains: “The composatable option is far better than a regular plastic, but usually more expensive. By purchasing a large quantity, we made a saving which we’ve passed on to local businesses making it affordable for them to make the change.”

50 billion plastic cups are used and disposed of around the world each year, an issue that coastal communities are acutely aware of with 8 million pieces of plastic deposited in the ocean every day. Colin Darbyshire, from Surfers Against Sewage, has been working to reduce plastics in the community in Hastings for the past three years, and helped the festival team to devise and implement the scheme. “Seeing so many venues coming together to make a commitment to turn their backs on plastic is an enormous step in the right direction. We want to send a very clear signal that disposable items must become a thing of the past, and we’re going to keep building on this model so that reusable cups become the norm across Hastings, and beyond.”

Hastings Fat Tuesday takes place from 1st to 5th March and is headlined by Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock.