Though Montreal summer festivals define the city's culture of celebration and entertainment, they often operate in contrast to its environmental goals. Outdoor festivals are notoriously wasteful and polluting.
Though it kicks off the summer season, for example, the Grand Prix brings tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions to the city each year. For a great example of the huge environmental cost of outdoor urban celebrations, look no further than Toronto in the aftermath of the Raptors' victory parade. "Heaps of trash" littered the streets after the parties came to an end.
Music festivals, meanwhile, leave fields of plastic waste in their wake. Water bottles, though among the most recyclable plastic products, are also perhaps the most easily lost. Well-meaning concert-goers who just want to stay hydrated often unwittingly find themselves participating in a damaging phenomenon.
That's why one group of Canadian researchers have created free water refill stations. The innovation has proven so promising that, for the first time, they will be available at Osheaga — Montreal's most famous music festival.
These "Green Stops" are compact stands where festival attendees can fill up their reusable bottles free of charge. "We offer eco-friendly services in outdoor urban settings — starting with access to free drinking water refill stations — to reduce plastic pollution and save our oceans," the designers write on their crowdfunding page.
"Our goal is to rent our stations to outdoor summer festivals but imagine it in parks, cities, hotels, sporting venues, and beaches."
Watch a video preview of the refilling station below:
According to the CBC, the Green Spots will draw water from the city's public supply at Osheaga.
Osheaga has listed the new water stands as one of several new measures to reduce plastic waste at the enormous festival. In addition to these refilling stations, Osheaga will also introduce "reusable Ecocups" to cut the "amount of single-use plastic cups by 120,000 units, which is equivalent to a stack of cups 10 times the height of the Eiffel Tower."
To see a complete list of environmental initiatives at Osheaga, see its sustainability page here!