Golowan – Our Town, Our Planet


Penzance’s biggest day of celebration is almost back – and we can’t wait. But how do we have fun and make sure we’re still looking after the environment around us?

If you’ve been to Golowan Festival before, you may remember organisers teamed up with Plastic Free Penzance back in 2018 to introduce a refill cup scheme. And it was a total success.

We introduced refill cups at all the main venues as well as the water refill point for the parade, to get rid of plastic water bottles. It was our first year, balloon sellers weren’t happy and a couple of venues decided to hold off on the reuse cups … but with just those two refill actions we saw a positive start in the reduction in single-use plastic. A thousand items, if we look at plastic water bottles alone.

And despite those who didn’t take part, we were thrilled to see so many venues putting one step forward for the planet, reducing the amount of single-use plastic being used across the festival.

In 2019, we upped the game – and so did the town. More venues got involved in the refill cup scheme, and the town’s Plastic Free Events Charter was sent to all traders and contractors.

By the end, 33,000 less single-use throwaway cups were used over the weekend! Pretty much every food stall used cardboard boxes, paper bags and sold canned drinks rather than plastic bottles. The only balloons on sale were from the street vendors (who can just rock up) and plastic ‘tat’ on stalls was significantly down. The fireworks were plastic free, too.

We also upped waste management, with more and bigger recycling bins (and a huge shout-out to our volunteer Prom Plastic Pick team did a great job of picking up any stray rubbish making its way to the ocean).

The result? A visible difference in plastic pollution and rubbish on the streets. We couldn’t have been more grateful to everyone


After a successful return event in 2022 (Golowan saw a two-year break, thanks to Covid), we’re excited to be continuing our journey with the Golowan organisers to make this festival more eco-friendly than ever before.


So, what about this year?


This year, we’re asking you to take things one step further – by bringing back your cups from last year, instead of buying them all over again.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be your Golowan cup; any festival cup will do. By bringing cups you’ve already purchased before, there will be even less need to buy plastic when you’re celebrating and dancing with your friends, or enjoying the parades.

After all, for us, it’s all about reusing what we’ve already got, not create something new. Which is why, each year, the Golowan team plans to order less refill cups for venues, until the habit is to bring them back is bedded in (but, don’t worry, they will still be available if you need them)

We’re also doing more work around waste management in terms of setting up food waste collections and upping glass and can recycling as people swap to those alternatives. Through our mothership Sustainable PZ we are encouraging wider actions such as sustainable travel and letting the public and vendors know where eco impact could be reduced further

Last but not least we will have our epic volunteer teams out on the ground on the Prom, the dock and doing sweeps of Battery Rocks throughout the festival to catch any stray plastic and rubbish making its way to the sea. Watch out for us and say hi.

Got any ideas on ways you think we could reduce the eco-impact of Golowan? Drop our team a line and start making a difference!

We hope you all have a fantastic Golowan, and we’ll see you on the other side…