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Douze points for recycling?

It’s the opening night of the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m lucky to be able to look back fondly on last year’s competition which I attended in Rotterdam with my boyfriend and his brother. All of us were proud that Netherlands (finally!) had won the previous time, meaning we got to host the event.

19 May 2021 was a night to remember. An early present, as I celebrated my birthday one day later. We realised it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (the Netherlands hardly ever makes it into the top 10) and signed up to take part in a ‘field lab experiment’ to verify whether it was safe to have live audiences present at TV programmes in the wake of coronavirus. I’ve not regretted that one moment.

Let’s not dwell on the fact that our country’s entry fell from first to 23rd (out of 25). It was a unique experience of music, lights, costumes and good cheer. It was a definite highlight of our monotone lockdown existence. My favourite performances were from Portugal, Switzerland and France. Such flair, poetic lyrics and beautiful set designs. My snaps captured the ambiance quite nicely, I think.

The 66th edition of the festival will kick off tonight in Turin, Italy. Well done to rock band Måneskin for securing the title in 2021. Their act certainly made an impression on the audience; people got up out of their seats, clapping and cheering to the beat. It was as if we had all forgotten the pandemic – if only for a few minutes at a time.

The event was strictly monitored with assigned seating at 40% capacity and prompt clean-up services starting immediately after the award ceremony. I know because I’d accidentally left a birthday card under my seat and tried reclaiming it – to no avail. It was long gone, on route to the local paper recycler. To further curb waste, a deposit of Eur 1 was taken on thick plastic cups to incentivise visitors to drop them off at the bar before heading home.

Meanwhile, plastic coins used as currency at the festival bore the recycling logo. I’ve seen similar form of payment made from recycled wood at recent concerts in Amsterdam. It’s a simple but meaningful way to include recycled content at large-scale events while subtly promoting the recycling message.

Additionally, the municipality of Rotterdam commissioned a 3D-printed reply of the winning trophy, made entirely from recycled polyethylene (PET) from Dutch waterways. The blue four metre sculpture, created with the help of Waste Shark, was a quirky eyecatcher that had been eagerly shared on social media in the weeks leading up to the show.

The floating waste collection system developed by RanMarine can be in the water for up to 10 hours a day, covering a range of 5km and taking in a total of half a tonne of ocean plastic. Routes can be pre-planned for extra-efficient collection results.

I’m curious to see what, if any, eco-conscious measures Italy is taking. After all, Eurovision is a big stage where voices are heard from many parts of the world. Every artist wants to win — but a win for all of us would be taking the show to a consistently higher level year after year.

And I’m not talking about more fancy costume changes or bigger glitter cannons.

Latvia’s attempt at promoting ‘going green’ with the comical song “Eat Your Salad”. Check the lyrics and the video and make up your own mind!

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