A new partnership between Victorian youth music organisation, The Push, Arts Centre Melbourne and Green Music Australia is helping to reduce plastic waste at youth events, and in the process educating the next generation of music fans.
As part of The Push and Arts Centre Melbourne’s New Slang program, 15 young arts organisers aged between 15 and 18 are implementing exciting new anti-waste measures at their monthly gigs, held at The Channel in Melbourne’s Arts Centre. As well as saving hundreds of bottles and wrappers from landfill, New Slang’s young audiences are learning how to have fun without damaging our planet, and doing their bit to tackle the urgent problem of plastic pollution.
One of the key people behind the waste-wise initiative, New Slang committee member Beatrice Ciblis, realised early on that the group needed to take action.
“For the first half of 2017, we were supplying free bottles of water and snack-packs of crackers to our school-aged attendees, to ensure they didn’t become dehydrated or hungry and leave in the middle of a show” Mx Ciblis said.
“At the end of these gigs, we were cleaning up around 85 single-use plastic water bottles, along with 100 cracker snack-packs, not including the plastic waste generated from artist riders. Of this, the vast majority of water bottles weren’t being recycled because of inadequate existing infrastructure at the venue. This was raised at the committee’s fortnightly meeting, although initially we couldn’t come up with a viable solution to the problem. One issue was that everyone wanted water to be easily accessible – the venue is small and it can get quite warm, which obviously poses a health risk to attendees if there’s not an adequate supply of water. The team also searched for environmentally friendly packaged snacks, but could’t find a cost effective product that accommodated our audience’s diverse dietary requirements” they said.
After workshopping the problem with Green Music Australia, the New Slang team decided to trial a new hydration plan for one show, replacing bottled water with tap water and 30 reusable cups, so audience members could help themselves throughout the night. New Slang also trialled a smaller quantity of low-waste friendly snacks – apples and bananas, to combat their packaging issues.
“After a highly successful first show, we decided to implement both changes for the rest of our gigs in 2017. We estimate that we saved around 300 single use plastic water bottles, and 250 plastic wrappers from entering Australia’s already overcrowded rubbish dumps. Our young attendees seemed to not only embrace the changes, but are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to have a sustainable lifestyle, achieved by minimising their environmental footprint” said Mx Ciblis.
The New Slang program, established in 2016, is a yearly program run by The Push, a Victorian not-for-profit youth music organisation, in collaboration with Arts Centre Melbourne. It aims to both foster the skills of the committee members through hands on experience and involvement in the music industry, along with hosting accessible and welcoming gigs for people of all ages, showcasing a diverse line-up of up-and-coming young talent in the Melbourne music scene.
The drug and alcohol free events hosted monthly reflect the increasing demand in the music industry to have financially accessible gigs for attendees under 18, and in addition to this, a more relaxed environment, enabling people – especially those for whom it’s their first time attending a gig – to have an experience which helps ease them into the rich culture of Melbourne’s music scene.