Festival season is nearly here again. Now more than ever we are aware of the effect we are having on the environment around us. Festivals are a great place to leave the trappings of your normal life behind and should be embraced but, to make sure the longevity of the festival scene is left untarnished we need to start helping by making some changes to the way we attend festivals. We look at ‘Ways to Have a Green Festival‘.
Ways to Have a Green Festival
When it comes to the music festivals I have to say I have a soft spot for them. The endless food stalls, the summer sun, the people that bring the place alive and the bands that bring us flocking to a field in the middle of nowhere for a long weekend. They really are a freeing place to spend your time but that freedom does come at a cost. I’m not talking about the over priced entry fee, no I’m talking about the environmental effect that having such a large number of people in one place can have. Clean ups of festivals can lasts weeks with campers thinking it’s ok to leave anything from tents to old car tyres. In a modern age where we have been shown the effects we are having on our surroundings its time as festival goers we took some responsibility for the way we take part in festivals.
Travelling to the Festival
A big part of a festivals carbon footprint starts with the journey to and from the festival site. With hundreds of thousands of people heading to one location the carbon footprint is going to be large. There are ways to travel that will help cut down on the carbon footprint.
Travelling in your own car is absolutely grand. You have your own space and can do as you want but having one or two people in a car that could take 4 or 5 is not great for the environment. If you know friends or family that are travelling to the same festival then hook up together and share the petrol money. This cuts the environmental impact drastically and means you’ll have friends to talk to on your journey. If you like meeting new people and don’t mind travelling with strangers then you can use car sharing services like GoCarShare , this service is a car sharing service where you can look for other people travelling in the same direction or offer rides to people travelling to the festival. Please note we have never used the service before so please have a read before you decide its for you.
Coach or Bus
Many festivals jump on board with the idea of travelling to the festival via coach or bus services. The reason behind this is simple; many people can travel as one group and thus keeping the carbon footprint nice and low. Many festivals actually offer a discount if you use services like National Express. Its worth while have a read up on the festival website to see what they offer when it comes to booking travelling as you might find you’ll be offered a few quid off for using public transport.
Using the train is another great way to make it to your festival. With large numbers of people using the train service this is a great way to keep the carbon footprint low. When you reach your journeys end you’ll often find a free shuttle bus service which can take you direct to the site entrance.
The way you camp at a festival can have a big environmental impact if done incorrectly. There are some surefire ways to make you stay more Eco and less disruptive to the environment.
Glamping is a great way to camp at a festival. The tent, yurt or tipi is already erected when you arrive and then tidied away after you leave. The organisers reuse the tent for their next event and you can go away knowing that you have contributed to a more sustainable festival. This cuts down on camping waste that is often left when campers vacate the camping site.
Do it yourself camping
When it comes to camping in a field you’d think there isn’t much to it. But there are ways you can make your stay a lot greener. The first rule should always be ‘if you take it with you, you should be taking it home again‘. This means your tent, camping equipment, clothing and rubbish that is not recyclable on site at the festival.
Take your tent home
For the most part your tent should survive the festival untouched and so investing in a good quality tent from the beginning well mean you can reuse your tent over and over again. This is one of the best ways to help with having a more sustainable festival. People who purchase really cheap tents with the intention of leaving them behind are causing a really big issue. At Glastonbury alone 500 tents were left behind in 2019. This number is shrinking but still has a long way to go.
Always take your tent home with you unless there are tent recycling facilities onsite. Don’t assume that if you leave your tent it’s going to get recycled because likely hood is it will end up in landfill. Festivals like green man festival has recycling facilities where unbroken tents can be given to refugees around the world.
If you are a bit flush then you could fork out for a PVC free sustainable tent but they do come at a cost. Check with local youth groups who might be only to happy to take your unbroken tent off your hands.
Use reusable camping equipment
If you plan to make your own food then use reusable plates and cutlery that can be taken home after the event and used another time. Carry a reusable drinking bottle that can be filled at the water stations instead of purchasing plastic bottle water. Store food in reusable Tupperware boxes instead of using clingfilm etc and leave any unneeded wrappers at home.
Around the site
Looking after the festival site is as much your responsibility as it is the organisers. It breaks my heart when I walk around a festival and just see half eaten noodles with container just thrown on the floor, beer cups thrown everywhere and all manner of waste just left blowing around. Especially when bins are normally so close at hand.
Recycle your Waste
Throughout your stay at the festival you’re going to eat food and drink alcohol. Don’t just throw your used cups and food containers on the floor. Festivals now provide recycling bins spread throughout the site. Use these bins correctly to help the festival collect and recycle your waste. Many festival sites are now starting to move towards only letting food vendors sell food in recyclable containers. This is a great start to helping cut down on landfill rubbish but you guys need to make sure the waste gets recycled by putting it in the correct bins. Make sure you walk around your campsite when you are packing up and tidy away any rubbish so it looks like you were never there.
Don’t bring single use items with you
Try and cut down or completely eradicate using single use items at your next festival. Its a big step and you might not be able to manage to cut these single use items out completely but try and see what you can come up with.
Plastic bags are a good place to start, in our blog about ‘what to bring to a festival‘ we cover bringing things like plastic bags to sit on or for keeping your clothing dry but, if your going to take this kind of bag then we recommend bio degradable bags that can be thrown away with the food waste after use. A much better solution to sitting would be a blanket for wet ground.
Don’t bring loads of plastic water bottles to the festival, as mentioned reusable bottles are much better.
Don’t take wet wipes but, if you absolutely have to use wet wipes then please use biodegradable versions because the other kind just go to landfill and take years to disappear. Using biodegradable items doesn’t mean you can just leave them lying around so please use bins provided.
Say no to Glitter
I’m not sure what the craze is with wearing loads of glitter but it seems to be very popular at festivals. Glitter is a micro plastic and its ending up in our food chain. The simple solution is to just stop using glitter at festivals, this would instantly help cut out a lot of micro plastics from hitting our food chain. There are a number of biodegradable glitters now hitting the market but are these glitters really able to biodegrade? This is a hard question to answer and the answer could still be no. We advise for you to really do your research if you are going to purchase glitter and make sure you purchase a truly biodegradable brand, better still is to just not use the stuff.
Many festivals now make you rent reusable plastic cups. Each time you go back to the bar you trade your cup in and get a new one. If you want to take your cup home to use there you can otherwise, take it back and get your deposit back. If the festival you are going to is not using reusable plastic cups just yet then there is often a small reward offered for cups returned to the beer stand. Don’t just throw you cup on the floor, either recycle it, pass it on to someone who wants the reward or place in a recycling bin.
Use sustainable toilet roll and toilets
Many festivals now offer green toilets instead of the chemical style toilets. Using these green toilets means the waste is naturally recycled, these toilets are a great way to help keep the festival greener. Also instead of taking normal paper toilet we recommend using bamboo toilet roll. Bamboo is a fast grow plant and so very sustainable and so a great choice for toilet time.
When it comes to your festival clothing make sure you don’t take single use cheap throwaway clothing. Wearing a set of clothes for one day and then just throwing them away is not Ecofriendly. Take quality clothing that you can wear again. This includes things like waterproof ponchos, don’t buy the cheap one use versions. Either purchase a good quality waterproof jacket or a good reusable rain poncho. Take a look at our range of funky festival clothing for great ideas on what to take to your next festival.
We hope we have helped you with Ways to Have a Green or Ecofriendly Festival. If you have any other ideas we may have missed then please let us know. Enjoy your next festival, have a cracking time and don’t forget to tidy up after yourselves.