With festival season now in full swing, I thought it would be helpful to offer some of my best Top Tips to help reduce waste and your festival carbon footprint! Music festivals not only harm the local environment, they also produce huge amounts of Carbon dioxide emissions. Whilst the problem heavily lies with the festival organisers themselves, these five straightforward suggestions will help you do your bit to minimize the amount of festival waste.
1. Do NOT Throw Away Your Tent
Every year we see the disappointing images of thousands of abandon tents after music festivals. The Association of Independent Festivals estimate that 250,000 so called ‘single use’ tents are left at UK music festivals every year. Some of the reasons people leave tents include: the annoyance of taking them back if they are travelling home on public transport, the fact that they get trashed/ dirty over the festival period or just pure laziness. But this should not be a reoccurring problem. Many people believe that undamaged tents that are left behind are collected and given to charities however this is wishful thinking! The majority of these tents will end up in landfill. many of these tents are non-biodegradable and the concentration of plastic in these landfills release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere risking contamination to soil and groundwater.
However, we are heading in the right direction, Glastonbury Festival organisers claim that 99% of
festival goers’ tents were picked up and taken home after last year’s festival. To put this into perspective Glastonbury is a festival of 200, 000 people so this is extremely promising. By spreading awareness, this can continue.
2. Reusable NOT Disposable
Reusable items are essential for keeping sustainable. The word ‘disposable’ means they are designed for one use and then they can be discarded; this often involves single use plastic – which do not biodegrade naturally. So, swap that disposable camera for a digital one, swap the disposable containers for reusable Tupperware and carry your things in a rucksack instead of a disposable plastic bag.
Simply by refilling your water bottle at water fountain points that will be located at all festivals, you will not only save money but also reduce the amount of single-used plastic that is getting thrown away, damaging our environment. Additionally, you could use reusable cutlery and plates – just make sure the group shares the washing up!
3. Pick up Litter
It really is that simple. Every little helps a lot, so do your best to recycle as much as possible and pick up any rubbish. This saves the selfless volunteers a massive clean-up job at the end of the festival. Also, Bin your butts! Cigarette butts are one of the biggest contributors to the litter problem at festivals. It is essential that you dispose of them properly and responsibly using the allocated bins.
4. Travel Eco-Consciously
Public transport is always a quick and easy method of getting there especially with the stress of parking permits and spaces often being limited. This is definitely the ideal method for a day festival with no belongings. However, the option of going by car sometimes is necessary when camping for just under a week. To be sustainable you should try to carpool, despite it maybe being a squeeze. Another option is a festival bus or shuttle bus that often go from major cities straight to the destination.
5. Support Charity Shops
Is it really worth it to buy an outfit for one day and then chucking
it out? When finding festival fashion, it is always a good idea
to look in charity shops. Not only are you supporting a good
cause, but it moves away from fast fashion, an industry that is
extremely harmful to our planet. Second hand clothes are often
cheaper and more durable than typical fast fashion. In the past
charities including Oxfam have partnered with big festivals,
such as Glastonbury, helping to keep them more sustainable.