Festivals are a summer staple for making memories full of music, friends and fun. But festival fun comes at a costly price for the planet. Bigger festivals like Glastonbury generate nearly 2000 tonnes of waste in a week, which is around 15kg of waste per festival-goer. And that’s on top of the carbon emissions produced across the weekend through diesel fuelled stages and lights, and travel to and from the site.
The saying still rings true – every little helps and small changes you make for the earth will make the biggest differences. From choosing sustainable and ethical fashion to hygiene, here are 11 simple ways you can curb your carbon footprint and have more sustainable festival fun!
1 – Car share
Transport is arguably the part of a festival which has the biggest impact on the environment. So much so that festivals have now set up car sharing initiatives, which will not only help out a stranger in need, but it’ll cut down on costs and fuel for you. And who knows? It could be the start of a new friendship too!
2 – Don’t throw away the tent!
You’ve seen it all before; the walk through the site at the end of the weekend to see porch doors flapping and tent poles sticking out. In fact, Love Your Tent’s survey found that over 60% of people have admitted to ditching their tent after a festival.
Even with festivals claiming to reuse abandoned tents and donate them to humanitarian charities, in reality, this only happens to a small number – the ones still in a salvageable condition. The rest go to landfill, which festival organisers have to pay to throw away.
At the end of the weekend, pack up your tent, use it again for next year, and revel in a little joy knowing you’re saving both money and the planet!
3 – Reusable cutlery
Three meals a day for the next four days that you’re not eating at home; multiply the one-use cutlery that you’ll use by the number of attendees. That is A LOT of plastic cutlery being thrown away. Why not carry a reusable set around? Once you’ve used them, just clean them up using some biodegradable wet wipes so you can use all over again.
4 – Hygiene
Speaking of wet wipes, with limited access to shower facilities at festivals, wet wipes are the next best thing to keeping yourself clean. Most wipes cause huge environmental problems for water pipes and landfill – even biodegradable wipes! However, the world’s first truly flushable wipe does exist, and is plastic free and made from 100% paper tissue.
5 – Toiletry alternatives
Believe it or not, there are so many alternatives to your typical festival toiletries that will help out the environment; natural sunscreen, deodorant sticks or bamboo toilet roll. Plus, the non-liquid alternatives weigh less – maybe this will finally be the year you fulfil the promise to yourself to pack light?
If it so happens that you’re unfortunate enough to start riding the crimson wave, having plastic free period products on-hand helps out you and the environment too.
6 – Stay hydrated
Dancing, drinking and sunshine (well, hopefully!), it’s extra important to stay hydrated during your weekend. Rather than adding more plastic to the waste, there are tonnes of reusable water bottles that you can take with you to use instead; steel, BPA free plastic, even foldable ones if you want something a little less bulky. Besides, who wants to spend £2.50 on 500ml anyway?
7 – Waterproofs
Sure, with a summer like the one we’re having, rain seems like a distant memory. But we do still live in the UK where the weather is totally unpredictable. Don’t be tempted by the disposable £3 ponchos and bring your own waterproof. It’ll come in handy for many more festivals to come (and however long you’ll live in this country for!)
8 – Biodegradable glitter
All that glitters is not gold when you discover that the glitter you’ve been gluing to your face all this time is microplastic, non-biodegradable and seen as a food item for many animals. Luckily for us, biodegradable glitter is becoming more and more popular, which means you can still get that glitz and glam look this festival season.
9 – Forget about fast-fashion
That festival fringe and those summer sequins are hard to resist clicking on when browsing your favourite fashion sites. But realistically, how often are you going to wear it post-weekend, if you even wear it again? Flex those creative muscles and reinvent the clothes that you already own or swing by the charity shops, there’s bound to be some hidden gems in there that’ll save you money.
10 – Homemade snacks
Walking from stage to stage and dancing to your favourite songs is bound to use up all your energy. This is where a little snack break is essential to help keep you on your feet. Instead of finding the nearest food stall to eat, bring your own homemade snacks. Raw vegan snacks are a great way to satisfy that small bit of hunger before dinner time, they transport well and will mean less waste too. We love this cacao recipe from Simple Vegan!
11 – Clean up after yourself
And lastly, cleaning up after yourself is the right thing to do. Like we said, the smallest things make the biggest differences! Separate your recycling from your rubbish, take home any spare items like food and toilet roll, and anything that’s still salvageable, donate to the collection points dotted around the site.