Action 253: Be a green festival-goer

festivalDate: 10 September
Action: 253
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ LOW or NIL


Festivals are back after the pandemic, but let’s work together to reduce their impact on the environment

If you are a music lover and festival goer, there are some simple and inexpensive (or free) steps you can take to make sure you are reducing your impact on the immediate and wider environment by the festival. Although festival organisers are increasingly doing their best to make events greener, as individuals we have a responsibility to help make that work.

So today’s action is to resolve to be a better, greener festival goer.

What to think about

  • If you camp, take your tent home with you!

Tents cannot be recycled and generally cannot be collected for re-use. Please take everything home with you including your tent. It’s a myth that festival organisers want your tent to give to Shelter – festivals want to spend time and money organising the line-up and fun, not waste management!

  • Use the correct bins to improve recycling

Self-explanatory. All reputable festivals will separate rubbish using different bins so that materials can be recycled. Mixed waste often cannot be recycled. Remember to put food waste in the non-recycling bin – materials with food waste cannot be recycled!

  • Bring water bottles and reusable cups

Reduce single-use plastic by bringing reusables. Many sites will sell you a reusable bottle or cup.

  • Think about how you travel

Try to avoid travelling alone in a car, it’s the least carbon-efficient option. Please consider festival coaches and public transport, or try a car share. The festival website will include details. Did you know that a study by Ecolibrium found that the vast majority of a typical festival’s carbon footprint is from audience travel?

  • Reduce other plastics

Using glitter? Make it biodegradable! Trying face paints? Use ones not made with plastic. Food packaging, utensils, straws, and so on are all worth thinking about too. Check out our other articles for more specific tips.

  • Be Zero Waste conscious

Create no waste at your festivals by bringing your own reusable everything.

  • Choose the right food trader

Buy from traders using non-plastic packaging, and/or look our for organic, vegetarian and vegan options. You don’t have to be a vegan to try the food and you’ll be limiting the carbon emissions from meat production and cooking.

  • Ditch the wet wipes

It’s a no-no … take the time to use reusable cloths and wipes, just bag them up to take home and launder later.

  • Avoid fast festival fashion

We all feel strongly about this one … fast fashion is one of the world’s top polluters and festival fashion is especially bad news if items are purchased just for one wear. Instead, think about wearing what you already have, swapping outfits, charity shop or vintage, or upcycling.

  • Leave no trace

Simples! If you brought it then bring it home. Travel light anyway in the first place, it will make it easier when packing up and travelling home!

  • Ask festival organisers what they are doing to reduce their environmental impact!

Exercise consumer power responsibly … if you are you going to a festival with no green policy then ask what they are doing to reduce their impact! Let them know that festival sustainability is an important issue to you as attendees and might impact your ticket buying choices.

  • Lead by example!

When it comes to waste, people tend to copy the behaviours they witness around them, watching other attendees leaving a clean campsite, or picking up random waste from the floor can inspire others to do the same!

  • Remember the local farms and wildlife

Many festival sites are open countryside areas; take care to follow the countryside code on and around the site.

festivalAnd so on …

There are many other ways of helping too, lots of our articles include tips that can be applied in a festival situation.

Many tens of thousand of people gathering to have fun for several days is bound to have some impact, we have to be pragmatic about that. However, by working together we can minimise this.

Have fun, but take care of what’s around you.

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