Being green at a festival: Six tips for going eco-friendly

Festival-goers leaving Image copyright PA
Image caption People are being encouraged to pick up their rubbish and take their tents home

Anyone who’s seen the aftermath of festivals will know that it can end up looking more like a rubbish tip than a celebration of music.

Familiar sights include thousands of plastic bottles, tents left collapsed on the floor and odd wellies sunken in the mud.

About 23,500 tonnes of waste are produced each year at UK music festivals, according to Powerful Thinking – a think tank focused on the festival industry, and roughly two thirds of that goes into landfill.

But increasingly, people are trying to be a bit more green – so if you’ve booked your ticket for a festival, here is ethical lifestyle blogger Besma Whayeb’s six top tips.


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With thousands of people making their way across the country, transport can have a huge impact on CO2 emissions. Besma suggests getting a coach, often organised by the festival company itself.

“They’re super easy and drive you right up to the site. People usually come in twos or threes – on a coach you can have 50 or 60 people. That’s saving on probably 20 cars worth of carbon emissions.

“Also, coaches mean you get to meet people beforehand. You can start that festival vibe a couple of hours earlier.”

Re-use your raincoats

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If you’re going to a British festival, you’ll be lucky to avoid a smattering of rain. Besma says she always brings a rain mac with her rather than single use plastic ponchos.

“If you do take a plastic poncho, afterwards pack it up and keep it in your bag so if it rains throughout the rest of the festival you can shove it back on. You can also sit on them, which is useful, if it gets muddy,” Besma says.

Washing (or not washing)

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Image caption These people really, really care about the environment

Some festivals are lucky enough to have showers, but people who have camped at a lot of festivals will know the “wet wipe wash” all too well.

Sadly, you guessed it, most wet wipes are not biodegradable. “Pool your resources if you’re going as a group,” Besma says. “You would do the same with alcohol – most [wet wipe] packs come with 50, if not 100 wipes, which is plenty.

“People worry too much about washing, people know you’re at a festival and it’s hot. Just enjoy it”

Food and drink

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Image caption We’ve heard of a yard of ale… but a foot of cider?

Use a reusable water bottle. According to Besma: “A lot of festivals now are keen on putting taps everywhere but they might not have bottles for you to fill, so you might end up going to someone who’s selling a single use plastic bottle instead.” She also suggests taking reusable cutlery.

Glastonbury has announced it won’t sell single-use plastic water bottles this year. Live Nation, which run events like Reading and Leeds and Wireless, says it will get rid of single-use plastics by 2021.


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You can’t go far in a festival without seeing some sort of body glitter.

Usually, it’s not biodegradable, but some companies are changing their products. Besma tells Newsbeat: “Just search for eco-glitters, once you’ve worn it you can wash it off and it will degrade away.”


Image copyright Getty Images

There can be misconceptions about leaving tents at festivals. Some people think their tents will be given to charity, but often that’s not the case. Besma says you shouldn’t buy a new tent each year.

“Speak to somebody in your family and see if they’ve got a tent you can borrow. If you’re a keen festival goer, having a tent you can rely on every year is much better than having to go out and buy one each year.”

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