Pride is the most visible showcase of the LGBTQ community. Yet the early spirit has faded, in part from the huge volume of waste incurred at Pride parades and festivals, and other large queer events.

We go for what’s easy instead of what’s right. We drive diesel trucks down the routes when we could human power floats. We use plastic beads made with chemicals to show our pride colors, instead of being fabulously creative.

Our LGBTQ community must come out that Pride in our identity and stewardship of our home planet are completely interconnected.

Issues are both systemic and individual. All of the garbage is coming from:

  • Lenient contracts with food vendors, waste management, and sponsors
  • Mindless corporate handouts designed to be thrown away (and yet never decompose)
  • Our own personal neglect in creating so much waste

We believe this can, and must, change. We believe that Pride can be a celebration of our best selves, and a challenge to the world to do better along with us. We believe Pride can become plastic free and we aren’t going to stop until it is.

It was hard to earn equal rights, so doing right by our home planet should be easy.  Show your #GreenerPride. The green stripe in our flag is for nature. Let’s honor that starting now.

How can I go #PlasticFreePride?

Attendee

What can you do as an individual?

  • #BringYourOwn water bottle and refill it often
  • Take a reusable bag to carry out what you bring in so it gets sorted properly
  • Take transit, bike, or walk (or carpool if necessary)
  • Adapt something fabulous you have already to show your colors instead of buying fast fashion
  • Avoid free handouts you won’t use and take pictures of those who leave them behind for waste management to collect
  • Support nonprofits with your time and consider committing to your own planet improving cause
  • Eat snacks that are local, organic, or at least non-toxic (vegetarian is always an option)
  • Use your creativity to avoid plastic beads, glitter, balloons, and other toxic garbage items (think instead natural body paint, flowers, reclaimed materials)

Participant

What can you do as a contingent or vendor?

  • Have reusable water bottles for volunteers and a refill station identified
  • Carry out what you bring in, no garbage left behind
  • Cut out handouts, especially plastic, and be creative with your marketing
  • If you must hand out shirts, say where they were produced and what materials were used (avoid supporting child/slave labor, toxic rivers, or other fast fashion impacts)
  • Run your Pride float or cart with human power, not engines
  • Make your Pride presence count with commitments to do public good; whether that’s improving your supply chain, workers rights, or committing to go #PlasticFree as a company

Organizer

What can you do as a Pride planner?

  • Put together a strategy to have #PlasticFreePride in 5 years or less (work with OUT4S if this feels daunting, but remember it’s less scary than a planet of famine and drought.)
  • Start with the basics and ban plastic balloons, glitter, beads, bottles, and dinnerware (replace them all with compostable equivalents)
  • Select food vendors with credible sourcing from local and organic farms
  • Enforce standards in who you accept as a sponsor, with transparency
  • Ban fuel powered vehicles from parade routes and give prizes for least waste generated by decorations
  • Create water refill stations and sell reusable bottles to keep people hydrated
  • Work with local civic groups for free transit to Pride events
  • Staff waste sorting stations so that non-compostables aren’t co-mingled with recycling and landfill trash