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  • Writer's pictureNikola Simpson

Plastic Free Feteing: Your Guide to a Conscious Crop Over

Over 11,000 individuals participating in Foreday bands and over 9,000 individuals jumping on Grand Kadooment Day plus thousands more spectating. If everyone used at least 1 disposable cup, that equates to 20,000 disposable (single use) cups in one weekend. That’s over 20,000 cups that are thrown ‘away’ but there is no such thing as away; these must go somewhere.  Ever wondered where they go? Many will be collected by clean up crews but some will make their way into drains, gullies, onto the beach and into the sea.

The Crop Over Season may be a favourite festival of many but unfortunately generates a large amount of waste. If you wish be a more conscious and responsible feter this Crop Over Season, here are some tips: 

For the event/band organizer:

  • Reduce the amount of litter produced. If you do not already, consider distributing branded reusable cups or bottles instead of disposable ones.  Look into mobile water stations such as those from Eco Pure Inc (Bring Your One Bottle) which have been used at some events in recent times.

  • Opt out of unnecessary promotion products. 

  • Recycle your costumes. In collaboration with Carnicycle, we are looking for a few band houses and central locations to have a costume collection bin or box where wire bras and backpacks will be collected, sanitized and then donated to a local charity (recommendations accepted). On Kadooment day, have a bin or box on one of the trucks where revellers who no longer wish a piece of their costume can dispose of it. 

  • Use non-toxic body paint. 

  • Do not trash our streets or venues. Make sure that there are enough accessible bins - whether on the tray of trucks or bags attached to trucks on the road and spread out throughout the venue. Where possible, recycle those items that can be recycled. 

  • When the party dun, organise a clean-up crew. 

Remember to communicate any changes to patrons before the event - let them know what to expect and why you are making this change.  

For the event patron

  • Pelt waist not waste! (Throw garbage in bins) 

  • Say no to unnecessary promo products - do you really need another rag, or can you bring yours from home? Or what about the snack in your goodie bag? If you are not using it, instead of throwing it away, donate or give back.

  • If not given a branded reusable cup, find out if you are allowed to take your own. 

  • Recycle your costumes. Most of us wear our bras once or maybe twice. If you are not keeping your bra or backpack, give them a second life, divert from the landfill and donate to someone in need.

  • Think about the glitter that you use. Most glitter is made from plastic contributing to the growing problem of microplastics in the environment. 

Street vendors:

  • Ensure that you provide your customers with an easily accessible means of disposing garbage. Place bins or garbage bags in or near to your stall where it can easily be seen. More bins along Spring Garden (Mighty Grynner Highway) equates to less clean-up work!

  • Give discounts for refills! If a reveller or by-stander has their own branded reusable cup, encourage that by offering a small discount. Vendors won’t be at a loss since they didn’t have to provide the cup.

Wish to get recognized for your efforts towards sustainability? 

Through Oceanic Global, The Oceanic Standard Barbados Edition was launched in collaboration with Sustainable Caribbean in March 2019. This is a set of free industry-specific guides for adopting sustainable practices that meet both business and environmental needs.

Four tiers of verification have been developed to recognize businesses that advocate for sustainability within their industry:

1) "Plastic-Free" 

2) "Ocean Champion” 

3) "Sustainability Steward" 

4) "Straw-Free"


Tipsy (Twisted Entertainment) is the first Crop Over event in Barbados to be awarded one of the badges for their efforts for their upcoming event this weekend:  Ocean Champion since they made the socially responsible decision to utilise branded cups and cloth wrist bands as well as skipping the straw and significantly reducing plastics. 

Mix Nutz has also been awarded Ocean Champion and used Eco Pure’s mobile water station as well as implemented a pump and irrigation system for paint at their party in May saving hundreds of bottles. Some other big event and band names such as Brek - Fus, Aura, Lost in Paradise and Baje are in the process of coming on board. 

Will you be left behind? With Crop Over - No Crew Left Behind!  

So pick up something, anything! and I hope that the only bag I see on the road or on the stage during the Crop Over season is Red Plastic Bag! 

If you know of a band, event, venue, hotel or restaurant that has taken steps towards becoming more sustainable, please email me at Check out WKD Beach Lofts, Copacabana and Eco Lodge who are leading the sustainability movement in the hospitality industry in Barbados.


Next week, we will discuss Waste Management and Recycling 101. 

Written by Nikola Simpson and Sustainable Caribbean environmental intern, Kerri - Ann Bovell. 

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