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Splore 2017 eliminates single serve plastic water bottles


Splore 2017 eliminates single serve plastic water bottles from the festival

When it comes to large events, Splore is a sustainability trailblazer – leading the way where others follow.

Splore 2017 will be the first New Zealand festival to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles.

Splore has always worked hard to sort all plastics and recycle them, however recycling is not a perfect solution. In 2012 only 9% of plastic world-wide was recycled. Recycling single-use packaging uses resources and energy and this production and waste creates harmful effects on the health of the planet.

Internationally, high schools, universities, towns and cities like San Francisco and Toronto have either banned plastic single-use bottles or are taking steps to do so. Splore will be the first festival in New Zealand to do the same.

Instead of selling water in disposable plastic bottles, the festival is introducing a reusable bottle system by Globelet and encouraging festival goers to bring their own. Free water stations will be plentiful across the festival with premium chilled and sparkling water refills also available.

“It’s been a huge organisational undertaking by the festival and Globelet to eliminate the disposable single-use plastic water bottle, says Festival Producer, Fryderyk Kublikowski. “Splore’s message to the audience is ‘leave no trace’ and we believe we have taken a big step closer to this by taking a stand against single-use plastic water bottles. Our overall goal for the festival is to lead the way as a sustainable event. We aim to inspire our awesome audience to consider environmental impact in all their choices, not just during the festival weekend but also in their daily lives.”

This year Splore plans to go glow-stick free as they contain nasty chemicals that end up in landfill. Splore is also asking people to avoid cheap plastic glitter. Splore hosts New Zealand’s greatest dress-up costume party on the Saturday night and glitter is a favourite body adornment worn by many at the festival. But glitter is made of tiny pieces of plastic similar to the micro beads in cosmetics that have recently been banned here in NZ. However, glitter fans need not despair, Splore organisers have sourced a bio-glitter from the UK which will be supplied by BodyFX.

Situated in a beguiling bay steeped in Maori history, Splore is renowned for being New Zealand’s cleanest festival. This sets the tone for the audience respecting each other while enjoying a fantastic, creative three-day party set on a beautiful beach.

Sustainable initiatives that Splore has introduced over the years includes;

Reusable drinking vessels (Globelets) diverting 55,000 single serve cups from landfill
Car-pooling and sustainable transport to and from the festival
Recycling stations that are staffed, resulting in a clean festival site and high waste diversion.
Camp Kaitiaki – a service to look after the well-being of campers
Using renewable energy to run sound systems
Partnering with Gull to supply bio-diesel to run the generators
Composting toilets to fertilise native nurseries
Tree planting at the Splore site – Tapapakanga Regional Park
Only compostable serve-ware is used by Splore food vendors
Education and encouragement to the audience to respect the site, build a close community, pre-cycle, consider single use objects and more.
The festival has a strong, close and respectful relationship with Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whanaunga who hold mana whenua in Tapapakanga

Splore is the first New Zealand festival to win an international greener festival award.



Given the success of the ‘ban the microbead’ campaign, Splore is challenging vendors and punters to rise to the challenge and eliminate plastic glitter from their festival experience.
Glitter is made of tiny pieces of plastic mixed with shiny metals like aluminum. Given Splore’s beach-side location, huge amounts of glitter reach the ocean where it ends up polluting the water and being consumed by sea creatures.

Success story: Splore has worked with vendors, educating them about glitter and is proud to announce that Auckland’s BodyFX have removed glitter from their product line and are now stocking bio-glitter from England. The company will be selling bio-glitter at Splore.
Splore’s social media campaign will focus on educating punters about glitter.
Better alternatives to glitter or using BodyFx’s bio-glitter or donning a sparkle-heavy costume to shine the night away.

Making “choice” choices

Splore is also working with vendors/Splorers to eliminate: native American headdresses. These garments have huge spiritual significance and are trivialised every festival season. In some tribes every single feather represents an act of bravery. Cultural appreciation, wonderful; cultural appropriation, not.

Vendors have also been asked not to stock glowsticks. Last year, Sustainability Manager Sophie Barclay was shocked by the amount of glow sticks and bracelets ending up in the landfill waste. “There were mounds of glow sticks, it was so depressing. I think people forget that 100% of glowsticks end up clogging up our landfills and there are other ways to glow-in-the dark without creating so much waste.”

Glow sticks and drunk people are also not the best mix, she says. “Many of the glow sticks and bracelets were split open and I saw so many people with the liquid all over their sunburnt bodies. The liquid inside glow sticks is a mix of chemicals, some of which are major skin irritants. They are just bad news all around.”

Splore are keen to promote other “glowing” options including UV body paint (make sure to remove it before you go to bed or go swimming).

Go by Bus - Splore and Uber present the Splore Express Bus.

Aotearoa has a car culture. 90% of us drive to work by ourselves and our 3.1 million cars and vans are responsible for 12 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

This year, Splore and Uber are teaming up to offer a fuss-free bus ride to Splore. Punters can jump aboard the Splore Express Bus (there’s no waiting in the queue, you can have a drink in the sun on Sunday without worrying about driving home and there’s plenty of space for all your gear). Uber are offering Splore-goers a 20% discount to get to and from the bus.


This year Splore has been researching and working with rideshare apps. This year we hope to support a rideshare app option, but until there is a clear option in the Auckland market we encourage Splorers to carpool through our rideshare Facebook page - The Splore Carpool Club.

In 2012, we introduced reduced parking passes for cars with three or more passengers we’ve increased the number of people per car by more than 88%, from 1.7 to 2.8 per car in 2016.

Splore has been working with rideshare apps and hopes to work with one next year - but until there is a suitable option it encourages punters to use the rideshare Facebook group.

Whitebait fritters off the menu

This year, Splore has removed whitebait fritters from the vendor’s menus. The move comes following the release of Forest & Bird’s Best Fish Guide app which listed whitebait as “worst choice”.

The app shows you which type of seafood to support or avoid with criteria including population numbers and bycatch (e.g. fur seals and seabirds are caught when fishing for squid). 75 different species have been classed as the “worst choice”.

Whitebait are baby fish and a catch includes five different species (four of which are declining or threatened). With increased pollution of our waterways and a general lack of data (we have no idea of the size of the fish stocks, and as the industry has no quota set, we have no idea how many we are taking out), Massey University ecologist Dr Mike Joy says whitebait could become extinct by 2050 if we don't clean up our freshwater ecosystems.

BYOB - The end of bottled water

This year, Splore has scratched single use plastic bottled water off it’s menu. Last year Splorers drank their way through more then 10,000 single-use plastic drink bottles.

Bottled water takes two minutes to drink and hundreds of years to decompose. In the USA, more than 17 million barrels of oil (a nonrenewable resource that is helping to fuel global warming) are used - the same amount needed to keep a million cars on the road for a year.

Splore’s social media campaign will encourage Splorers to bring their own bottle, and for those who forget Splore will be selling reusable metal drink bottles and Globelet’s reusable plastic drink bottles on site.

(useful links:

Camp Kaitiaki take 2
Last year’s Camp Kaitiaki trial was so successful it has been implemented as part of Splore. Camp Kaitiaki wander the campsite offering a personalised service to all campers. They are divided up into camp sections and give out rubbish bags, check for any trouble spots and help campers figure out what’s on when.

© Scoop Media

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