Single Use Plastic advertising boards - Festivals, Events

In June 2019, I posted my ongoing concern about single use plastic advertising boards for local events for local park, school events, etc during the Summer.
Blythe Hill Fields Festival 2019, for example, had the ongoing support of Estate Agent, Hunters Catford.

I posted a Google Review asking Hunters Catford to outline why recyclable materials, like cardboard, were not used for such fleeting events.

I’ve just received Hunters Catford response [it’s now October!].
I’ve copied my Google review from June 2019 and Hunters Catford response from 3rd October 2019 in full for your response.

"My review relates exclusively to Hunters providing ongoing financial sponsorship to the Blythe Hill Fields Festival [organised for over 12 years by the volunteer, park user group - the ‘Friends’ of Blythe Hill Fields] and the installation of single use plastic advertising signage for the annual Festivals, which are basically non re-useable, estate agent type boards relating to a specific event on a specific date.
I am the Chair of neighbouring Ravensbourne Park Gardens and was a previous member of the Friends of Blythe Hill Fields. I’ve witnessed since 2006 that their park improvements aims are limited by the time and energy spent on organising their 5 hour per year July Festival and that private sponsorship for their Festivals have no link whatsoever to raising funds for year on year park improvement initiatives.
Hunters Estate Agency has provided financial sponsorship to the ‘Friends’ July Festival for about 3 years. None of your sponsorship funding has been specifically ‘ring fenced’ for any specific, year on year park improvement - if I’m not correct, then I will offer my express apology to your firm.
However, since the official ‘Friends’ website is again silent on park improvement for the remainder of 2019, then it is clear to me that Hunters Estate Agency has provided financial sponsorship to the July Festival without full consideration, beyond your advertising budget, to our local community.
If your firm is committed to our community, then I trust that you can commit to providing any future sponsorship for any local community event based on your understanding from the organisers that part of your funding will be used for a specific target improvement.

Hunters Estate Agency provide advertising signage, which is placed outside resident properties on resident’s acceptance. As indicated in the above, each sign is printed on what appears to be non-recycled plastic [i.e. single use plastic]. As the annual Festival is a fleeting event, I would expect a local business to print on recyclable cardboard, not single use plastic. And, that any other fleeting event sponsored by Hunters should be responding to ongoing, public concerns over single use plastic.
I would appreciate your response on what happened to your Festival advertising signage now it’s been taken down.
Did your firm ensure that any part of the post, strapping and plastic signage was either re-used/recycled? And, would your firm agree to print on recyclable cardboard for any future sponsorship initiatives?

In my view, Hunters Estate Agency has failed to engage with the ‘Friends’ to ensure year on year, park improvement legacy from it’s annual sponsorship, which would benefit our local community.
On the issue of single use plastic - Hunters Estate Agency appears to have failed the wider community.

On both issues, I trust that Hunters will adjust their ongoing policy."
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Response from the owner 12 hours ago
“We are pleased to support the festival, which is becoming more and more popular each year, and receives wonderful, positive feedback from the hundreds of local people who attend. I am pleased that the festival has become such a key fixture in the life of the local community, and pleased that so many local people and local businesses get behind the event, put on with the hard work of the Friends.
Our boards, that go up in front of 100 houses each year with the kind support of 100 local residents, are re-used by us each year.”

I’ve asked Hunters Catford on their Facebook site for access to view their stored advertising boards.
With regret, given that their advertising boards are printed with a specific date on their signage for Blythe Hill Fields 2019 Festival, then I cannot trust that Hunters Catford are being truthful.

What do you think about Hunters Catford’s position?

I think it’s great the Hunter’s sponsor local events.

I also think that charitable giving is, well less charitable, if conditions are attached to the support or donations; it’s a donation not a purchase afterall.

Recently I attended a local group where the topic of specific fundraisers vs general donation was raised and this particular group were very much in favour of general donation. This is because it allows them to choose how to spend funds and there were sometimes tangential costs to be considered, such as card payment terminals or accounting software that helped the cause through greater efficiency when collecting donations and ultimately this expenditure had an amplifying effect in fund raising, though would not be something people would typically want to ‘back’.

Single-use plastics is a problem for us all, and it’s good avoid it’s use whereever possible. I always thought estate agent sign boards were re-used and on a number of occasions I’ve emailed agents to have them come and collect ones that have been discarded or are no longer needed post sale. I’m sure they can be reprinted too, though that doesn’t mean they actually are of course.

Either way, use of advertising boards isn’t specific to Hunters Estate Agent, and they have not been the only one to sponsor local events.

Have you considered contacting other estate agents for their comment on this plastic problem? Or perhaps take it to an industry group like NAEA?

You could be our very own Gretta :slight_smile:

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I have contacted ‘Hunters’ Estate agency branch in Catford and they responded to me that they have re-used their estate agency, plastic board signage since sponsorship from 2017 and expect use of same from storage for up to 5 years with 100 boards currently in storage for next year.
I’ve repeatedly requested their response on the fact that their annually placed boards are clearly printed without a bolt on addition, with a specific date which changes year on year for the Saturday event held in each July. I’ve asked politely that they agree to allowing me to actually view their storage of 100 signs without response to date.
I agree that Estate agent boards to sell/rent property can be readily re-used. However, advertising boards with a specific event with a date printed on the board, without addition, are clearly not and I cannot believe the current response from Hunters Catford.
The issue should be resolved/clarified by the organisers of the 2019 Blythe Hill Festival at this stage in order to avoid the same problem being rolled out again in 2020.
I’ve also suggested to Hunters Catford that any future advertising boards could be produced on recyclable cardboard for such a fleeting, local community event without their response.

I think they might use a service like the one in this article:

A leading board supplier is encouraging as many agents and erectors as possible to use its free recycling service.

Steve Gosney, of Kremer Signs, said that although his firm has been recycling boards for a number of years, it has not been vocal enough about its free service.

This includes free collection when end-of-life boards are picked up by the same Kremer van making a new delivery.

Estate agency boards have a reputation for being notoriously unfriendly to the environment. But Gosney said that this is no longer the case and in the last five years or so, Kremer has produced over 2.5m new boards, using a 100% recycled material.

At the same time it has collected and re-processed 1.2m signs.

Posts used for the boards are made from Scandinavian softwood, and water-based paints are used. The actual boards are made from fluted propylene which can be turned into products such as boxes and plant plots – although the gardening lobby is now joining the non-plastic lobby.

Even the ink now used to print agents’ boards is environmentally friendly, with no chemicals used, said Gosney.

In fact check this too, from https://www.kremersigns.co.uk/how-we-do-it/:

“We have been using Kremer signs for many many years as they are recognised as being the premier firm in estate agent for sale/sold boards supply. The reason we always go back to Kremer is that they continue to design, prepare and deliver an excellent product. For the last few years I have worked with Tom there and he has always taken an interest in what we are trying to achieve and ensure we are totally happy with the results. I recommend Tom and Kremer Signs highly and if anyone in the industry needs to use their services then I am totally confident that they will extend the same level of care and quality that I receive”
– Jon Clayson - Managing Director (Hunters)

I could be wrong, but I’ll leave it here :slight_smile:

Hunters Catford made no mention of the service you have found online. If they do, I’ll let you know.
I trust that you will support my ongoing request to Hunters Catford to permit me to actually view their storage of their advertising boards to ensure 100% that what they state is actually true.
Is that a fair proposal?

Well of course you don’t need my support to do anything, and at this point I’m reasonably happy that there is potentially a sound explanation for all this and Hunters may not even have a store of boards to view if the service is outsourced.

It does feel a little bit like Hunters Catford and perhaps the Blythe Hill Festival organisers are being singled out for potential criticism in the face of a charitable act, and I personally don’t support that - if it were the case.

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I’ve seen more than one Hunter event board with the bolt on. That’s not to say there are those that don’t. Or new ones have been printed for this year which will have bolt ons in future years.

But no… I certainly wouldn’t support your request. Using Google Review to ask a question seems somewhat spiteful, especially when you attach a 1* rating to it. I think it does this local business credit to have responded to your review. It feels this has more to do with their support of the Friends of Blythe Hill Park than concerns over the environment.

Personally I applaud local businesses that support local community events AND I am happy to accept their response to your 1* rating of their services.

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@Austen_Jones I think the title of this thread is hugely relevant in this current climate (apologies!). As a household who had boards up for the BHF Festival this year, as well as out children’s school fair (provided by Sebastian Roche), it’s made me think about it and I’ll question when next asked, so thank you for raising this.

I do think you do yourself a disservice here however. It’s clear you don’t agree with the running, use of funds etc by the Friends of Blythe Hill, which, whatever the merits, means the core message about single use plastics gets lost. The two are entirely separate.

On a personal note, as I have stated before, I welcome what I imagine is a huge amount of hard work people give to make not only the festival, but other improvements to the park, all for free. I am thankful to all who contribute their time to this.

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Quite a lot of estate agents use a board company that supplies agents with boards and puts the boards up so the agents don’t control their disposal. And most boards are, from memory, uPVC which is recyclable.

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