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Sustainable Events Guide: Eco-friendly Festivals

Mar 01, 2019

Many people are now trying to live in a way that reduces the impact they have on the earth and its environment. But this can be a lot harder when you are away from home and out of routine – especially if you are at a festival.

In fact, when you consider all the plastic cups, food wrappers, disposable cutlery, glitter and tents left behind once the fun is over, the summer festival season has a pretty devastating effect on the environment.

But that’s not to say you should avoid them altogether. Here are our tips on how to enjoy a festival in an environmentally conscious way.

Pick an environmentally friendly festival

As with pretty much everything in life, some options are better than others. Do your research and see which festivals are already reducing their impact on the environment. There is a good list of the top 10 eco-friendly festivals here, but if the one you really want to go to doesn’t make the cut don’t worry. Read on to find more tips on how you can reduce your own individual impact on the environment when at a festival.

Think about how you travel

The same rules that apply for travelling in an eco-friendly way apply in everyday life, apply to getting to and from a festival. Many festivals arrange for shuttle buses to take people to the site from all over the country, which is probably the most environmentally-conscious way to travel. If not, look for public transport or team up with other people to car share. It’s best to avoid flying if possible, but if you do need to try to get a direct ticket.

Think about what you take – and bring back

Obviously, you will want to pack light to avoid feeling like a heavily laden pack-mule while traipsing across a field, but also consider what will be easy to pack up and bring home at the end. There has been a huge rise in recent years in the number of tents left behind at the end of festivals, with many people wrongly believing they go to charity (or not being bothered to take their mess at the end of a tiring weekend!). In fact, ninety per cent of these end up in landfill or being incinerated – and with 7,000 being left after Leeds Festival alone last year, that is a lot of tents.

This goes for your sleeping bags, clothes, backpacks and shoes too. If you would like to donate them to charity, take them home, clean them up and then arrange to get them to the charity you wish to support. And, if they are broken, consider if there is a way to get them fixed or recycled.

Having a backpack that is easy to use and will stand the test of time goes a long way to helping with being able to carry your belongs away easily. Check out our Soldier Backpack for one that not only fits the bill, but is made from upcycled army tents and rubber inner tubes.

For a full list of eco-friendly camping gear take a look at this article. Some of our favourites are the Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes, which biodegrade in only 28 days, and the KarTent – an innovative tent made from cardboard.

Think about what you buy while you are there, too. Avoid making impulse purchases that you’ll only use while at the festival. It’s a waste and you’ll only have to carry them home with you. The idea is to leave the area as you found it.

Recycle and reduce plastic usage

This sounds obvious, but, when you are busy dancing the day away, it can be easy to forget that simply separating out your rubbish and making sure it goes in the right bin has a huge effect on how much you help to protect the environment.

Most festivals have recycling bins available on-site now, so it should be pretty easy to do. And, if they don’t, make sure you complain in the hope that they will introduce them.

One of the biggest generators of waste at festivals is food and drink. Thankfully, some festivals are trying to reduce this – such as Glastonbury who already offer revellers reusable steel cups and are banning plastic bottles – but, for others, you will have to think ahead. Why not take a camping plate and a reusable water bottle with you so you can use those throughout the weekend?

Sparkle with a conscience

Covering yourself in glitter has become almost synonymous with some festivals, but the stark reality is that it is doing great damage to the world that we live in. This sparkly microplastic is causing so much harm to our environment and ecosystems, that many scientists are calling for it to be banned. It often ends up washing into our water systems and being eaten by marine animals and birds.

Thankfully, there are more and more biodegradable glitters becoming available. One of our favourite brands is EcoStardust. They have a huge range and give ten per cent of their profits to charities and environmental groups.

Avoiding the glitter altogether doesn’t mean you can’t look fantastic at a festival, though. Just make yourself stand out in a more environmentally friendly way. Take a look at our stunning upcycled jewellery for some inspiration. You’ll look good, feel good and it’s a great talking point!

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