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Switching bassline beats for baseline data: BBP measures up the music industry

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

By now, it’ll come as no surprise that the music industry (and the events sector as a whole) carries a hefty plastic footprint. But how can we make this impact measurable?

In other words: how can you know how much you need to lose…if you don’t know how much you weigh?

Setting a baseline measurement allows us to track our progress and stay accountable for every move we make - both as individuals and the music industry as a whole.

In 2020, Bye Bye Plastic put their heads together to create a set of baseline plastic consumption measurements for the music industry, with the aim to set collective goals and track progress together. Check out our summary post here.

Working with data from event organisers in Europe to estimate the plastic waste generated by an average club or festival attendee, we were able to calculate consumption of single-use plastic bottles, cups and straws, and how this translates to greenhouse gas emissions (aka carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide). Here’s what we found…

A one day festival, attended by 50,000 people had the same footprint as producing > 4,200 beef burgers.

When we crunched the numbers (stay with us!), this translates to total waste 2.05 tonnes, and 7.60 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

And the footprint was even bigger for clubs…working on the assumption that club doors are open 110 days per year, with 2000 attendees each night; we found the same footprint as driving almost twice around the world in an average car. That’s a lot of diesel for a DJ set.

In its numerical context, that amounts to 4.80 tonnes total waste and 17.77 tonnes CO2e.

So what’s the answer? With ocean plastic pollution set to triple in response to almost exponential plastic production, the health of marine ecosystems and their precious fauna are under threat. We rely on marine flora for food, medicine and countless other services, so to neglect this is to neglect our own future.

Manufacturing of plastic products (i.e. extraction of raw materials, water and energy use) has the largest part to play in their overall CO2 emissions, considerably more so than transportation or disposal. This means, by the time a plastic cup reaches your hand, much of the damage has already been done.

So the key is to stop the plastic tide at its source! By stopping the demand for new throwaway plastics, we can bring forward the day that single-use plastics are eradicated from the music scene.

The ubiquity of plastic is a worldwide problem…but there is currently a ‘notable lack of global coordination in plastic action’.

But as we love to remind our fellow music lovers, the best solutions are found through collective action. And who better than the music industry to lead the way? So next time you’re cutting shapes at your fave club, you know what to do!

Say NO to single-use plastics and join Bye Bye Plastic on their mission to unite the music industry towards a plastic-free future.

Ready to delve deeper? Access more info via our Resource Hub.

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