Brighton Pride has become an iconic celebration of the LGBTQ community, arguably the largest Pride event in the UK. It attracts thousands of people each year, who travel far and wide to witness this colourful mirage of diverse performers, exotic food stalls, and musical extravaganzas for one scorchingly hot summer’s day. However, after the banners and decorations have been cleared, the music has stopped, and the people have left and gone back home, Brighton is often left looking like a dumping ground for glitter, plastic and rubbish. This is the reality of holding such a large sprawling event across the city. After the fun and excitement are over there is a large amount of waste left, including plastic cups and food waste. There is also a problem with carbon emissions, due to an increase in vehicles on the city streets.

This is why Brighton Pride organisers are working with a sustainability expert on “a three-year plan that will work on improving these factors and help make a cleaner, greener Pride for all of us.“ They’re encouraging people and businesses coming to Pride to dispose of waste sensibly, by using the bins available around the city to help maintain a clean and green environment for both residents and visitors. This plan will address these issues, aiming to reduce the event’s impact.

One of their proposed schemes includes a “reusable cup scheme at Preston Park and Pride Pleasure Gardens sites.” They believe “this will reduce up to 30% of the volume of waste that has historically gone to incineration.” This is an all-day event, where people are constantly buying drinks and food from the stalls or bars, so waste generated from plastic cutlery and cups piles up at an exponential rate. Specifically targeting plastic consumption by giving people a sustainable option doesn’t detract from the liveliness and celebratory spirit of the event.

Another part of this plan is to replace plastic water bottles with “Aquapax cartons” which are a greener alternative. This is another good strategy, as typically Pride falls at the beginning of August during a heatwave, so water consumption is at a high, with people throwing their empty bottles anywhere during the event. However, now that they plan to use a biodegradable alternative, the effects won’t be as damaging. They are also planning on providing more water fountains in and around Preston Park for people to use, as well providing canned drinks at bars and restaurants. This new movement of sustainability will hopefully improve Brighton’s post-festival condition, as well as inspiring other local festivals and events to adopt a greener approach.

However, the public can also play a part in helping Brighton achieve a greener future. This is because people and businesses create waste every day, not just on the Pride weekend. So, if we can encourage people to change their mindset and dispose of waste in the right places, recycle and use reusable cups, it will have an enormous positive impact on our environment. Hopefully this can become a new green lifestyle for all of us. People can also get involved on a larger scale by signing up to the City Angels programme to help share benefit and responsibility with local restaurants and hotels who work together to improve our surroundings.

Brighton & Hove Pride also works with other organisations, such as Pier to Pier and Oceans 8 Brighton, who host monthly beach cleans to remove the waste from our oceans and will be hosting a huge beach clean event on the Sunday. Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to attend and help, as well as meet other like-minded people who care for the environment. Through these initiatives, we can guarantee a greener future for Pride, and hopefully the city of Brighton & Hove.