In every small and large event in Nigeria, a huge amount of plastic waste is generated. For the sake of our environment, there is a public concern to create low-or-no plastic events in Nigeria.
The rise of plastic pollution in Nigeria is alarming. From plastic plates, cutleries, plastic sourvenirs, red cups, water bottles - it's plenty. 😎 Although these plastics are inexpensive, light weight and convenient to use, they cause significant negative impacts on the environment.
It has been predicted that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the world's oceans will outweigh fishes. This is one of the reasons why entirely eliminating or drastically reducing plastic in your event is very important.
1. Discuss your plan with your team and vendors
If you are really serious about creating a plastic-free event in Nigeria, ensure that you discuss with everyone during the planning process. It should be an unanimous resolution.
Addressing plastic reduction in your event makes it easier to achieve this goal. There is no point putting efforts to create a plastic-free event if your vendors will show up with plastics.
A more formal way to ensure the commitment of your vendor is by including contractual arrangements in service contracts and agreements.
2. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
It is worrisome to note that only 9 percent of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled.
Reduce the very harmful ones that are non-recyclable. Recycle and reuse the ones that are recyclable. When plastic is unavoidable, try to recognise the plastics that can be reused, rather than disposed.
3. Communicate your goals with your guests
Once your guests know that you are seriously aimed at creating a plastic-free, they will co-operate with you. Some guests may object if you don't communicate your goals with them.
Encouraging your guests to come along with their own water bottles, coffee cups, plates and pens is a good option.
If your plan was to provide 500 guests with bottled water, but you decided to encourage them to bring their own reusable and recyclable water bottles, you have just prevented 500 plastic bottles from wasting. It is called BYO (Bring Your Own).
4. Consider your sourvenirs
Most sourvenirs in Nigerian events are plastic. Even if it will cost you more money, it is better to give them a non-plastic sourvenir than some plastic gifts.
5. Use alternative materials
There are compostable paper materials that you can use for your events, instead of plastics. Bamboo cutlery can be recycled and reused . They are strong , durable and affordable. Paper plates and wooden forks are also available.
6. Provide filtered tap water
Rather than give water bottles to your guests, you can provide filtered tap water in bulk containers.
7. Collect all the plastics used
In most of the events in Nigeria, guests carry the plastic bottles out of the venue even though they do not need them. Rather than let this happen, partner with recycling agency to collect this plastics for recycle and reuse.
8. Develop a WMP
It is necessary to plan how your event waste will be managed. Having an effective waste management plan will provide the best chance of meeting your waste reduction goals.
9. Make signage bins available
Your WMP may include having sufficient amount of bins for your event, how they will be used and where they will be positioned. You can use signages to indicate the purpose of each bin.