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Bringing the Spark of Sustainability to St. Patrick’s Festival

Tuesday 12 March

3 B7 A7852 2

The national St. Patrick’s Festival returns to Dublin from March 15th to 18th, 2024.

The theme of this year’s spectacular global celebration of Irish arts, culture, and heritage is ‘Spréach’, or spark, representing the life force, the very essence of our being that feeds into all activities across the full program of live events in this year's festival, with sustainability being no different.

As one of its core organisational values, The Festival is committed to sustainability, and is aiming to make this year’s Festival, the greenest and most sustainable St. Patrick’s Festival to date. As the centre of the world’s attention every March, and as one of the biggest festivals in Ireland, it has a responsibility to lead by example which is why it is championing sustainability in production, operations and programming.

Firstly, St. Patrick’s Festival is working with Native Events, Ireland's leading sustainable events company, to deliver a Carbon Footprint Analysis of the Parade and Festival Quarter. This will result in a comprehensive carbon footprint report to further the understanding of the festival’s environmental impact. It involves collecting data on all materials, transport, staff travel and accommodation, including subcontractors and suppliers, and will be used to identify key areas of reduction going forward.

The European Recycling Platform (ERP), Ireland’s only pan-European compliance scheme for WEEE and Waste Batteries has teamed up with St. Patrick’s Festival as a Sustainability Partner. Their aim is to encourage people to go green and banish old cables from their homes - not by putting them into their domestic waste bins, but by recycling them at their nearest electric retailer or recycling centre.

As part of the partnership, ERP worked with artist Ned Leddy to create a WEEE inspired installation entitled ‘Trash Mammoth’ to raise awareness among festival goers about the importance of e-waste recycling.  Made from almost 100 small electrical items and standing at over 12 feet tall, The Trash Mammoth will be installed at Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks from Saturday 16th to Sunday 17th March.

Additionally, St. Patrick’s Festival is partnering with Every Can Counts on a recycling initiative with Loreto College in St. Stephen’s Green. Transition year students have been collecting cans to use in a new recycled art installation being created for this year’s Festival. Combined with donations from Rathmines Bring Centre and Windmill Road Civic Amenity Centre, over 1,500 recycled cans have been collected for the installation.

Every Can Counts will also be taking the students behind-the-scenes and involving them in the construction of the installation, which will also be unveiled in Festival Quarter on Saturday 16th March.

Once again, the Festival partners with Kia to promote their Electric Vehicle range, including the new EV9, as well as their passion for Sustainability and the Circular Economy. Their collaboration with Bui Bolg in the parade will showcase a pageantry that supports circular economy initiatives, highlights cutting-edge innovation, and promises to be the largest yet!

Their Festival Quarter installation will highlight their sustainability strategy and shine a light on the use of recycled materials in vehicle production and their journey towards carbon neutrality. Together with Native Events, they’re creating an installation entirely made from recyclable materials and powered with solar panelled batteries, allowing our audience to witness firsthand the recycled materials gathered and then incorporated into Kia's EV9.

Elsewhere, a Traders' Sustainability Policy will be implemented again this year, focusing on no single use plastics (SUP) including the sale of SUP drink bottles. Traders will be required to supply compostable serve ware and have been provided with food procurement guidelines. Furthermore, the festival will request waste tonnage reports from waste suppliers in Festival Quarter. The data will help to give an understanding of the waste being produced and will enable the setting annual targets for waste reduction.

And for those attending Festival Quarter throughout the weekend, the Festival is teaming up with the National Transport Authority to encourage attendees to use public transport where possible, and to inform the public of the public transport options available to them. Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks is just a short walk from the city centre, is easily accessible by Luas and bus, and is adjacent to Heuston Station. Bike racks will also be available for all attendees wishing to cycle to Festival Quarter.

Sustainability will be evident in St. Patrick’s Festival bars too with the introduction of a reusable cup system for all festival goers. This will again reduce single use plastics and the overall waste of the festival.