As responsible event organisers, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society is committed to ensuring that Balmoral Show continues to do more year on year to tackle the plastic pollution produced at the Show.
Operations Director Rhonda Geary outlines the Show’s plans for 2023, ‘This year we are working with environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, to examine what we can all do to reduce the overall plastic usage throughout the Show. Our aim is to encourage visitors to avoid buying single-use plastic and for all caterers and traders to reduce the amount of plastic and polystyrene used and made available.’
The Show has asked all caterers and exhibitors on site to refrain from using single-use plastic, such as packaging and single use plastic bottles. Throughout the showgrounds there will be water stations installed, visitors can bring their own refillable water bottle or purchase a Balmoral reusable water bottle on site and enjoy unlimited free, chilled and purified drinking water.
At the on-site bars a beverage return scheme will be implemented for the first time, with reusable cups available to purchase and the money returned to customers when the cup is returned.
In addition, the Show is going digital where possible, reducing the amount of printed matter throughout the Show by encouraging visitors to purchase digital tickets online and to use the Balmoral Show App to plan their visit rather than relying on printed maps and timetables as in previous years.
Rhonda continued, ‘These measures will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic waste produced at the Show this year, which is a major aim for us. We also hope to build on these measures every year going forward so as we can make Balmoral Show as close to a plastic free event as possible in the years ahead.’
This is very much an ongoing journey for the Society. As responsible event organisers the RUAS will continue to do all it can to ensure Balmoral Show tackles waste as best it can.
Chris Gourley Waste and Pollutions Strategic Lead at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful comments, ‘We are really pleased to be supporting the RUAS as they begin their journey to reduce single-use plastic at the Balmoral Show. They have recognised the endemic problem we have with plastic here in Northern Ireland and are taking positive strides to halt this.’
Chris continues ‘Staggeringly 81% of litter found on N. Ireland beaches in 2021 was plastic. The problem is that plastic doesn’t simply disappear, it is around for hundreds of years breaking down into microplastics which are now engrained in habitats and wildlife. All having their impact on the environment, climate and our own health. Working together is crucial to reverse the damage to the planet and with us all making a few small changes: refusing to use single-use plastic water bottles, bags, coffee cups, food packaging, plastic bags we will go some way to achieving this goal”.