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Top tips for being a greener festival goer

By Rachel England Monday 23 June 2014

Top tips for being a greener festival goer

Time to dust off the tent, dig out the sleeping bag and stock up on loo roll – it’s festival season! But while al fresco sleeping and dancing around fields may seem like good green fun, it’s easy to leave a hefty footprint during your weekend of hedonism. Here are five easy ways to make lasting memories without creating lasting damage.

Get the right gear

It’s tempting pre-festival frolics to go a bit mad splashing the cash on cheap tat, or stuff you think you might need but ultimately end up shoving in the back of a cupboard. So before you do your festival shop, make a list of the stuff you already have and the stuff you really need. Yep, a new day-glo tent might be cool but if you don’t really need it then it’s just a waste of resources – and cash you could otherwise spend on burgers and beer. And make sure any festival gadgets you do get are eco-friendly. 

Travel tactics 

Loading up a car with heavy festival gear and pumping it full of petrol isn’t the cheapest – or most eco-friendly – way of getting to your temporary outdoor abode. Check out alternative transport options: most festivals run their own coach services (Glastonbury even rewards coach users with goodies such as vouchers for solar showers and discount meals!), while The Big Lemon offers mass transport options to most festivals in south, on buses powered by recycled cooking oil! These options are a far more fun and sociable way to kickstart your weekend than sitting in traffic in a packed, stuffy car.

Feast friendly 

Festival food has come a long way since the days of dubious burgers and anaemic-looking chips. Lots of festivals now offer a real rainbow of food choices, with many putting a strong emphasis on local or organic fare, which has less of an environmental footprint than regular festival grub. Seek out vendors selling these types of munchies and eat with a conscience – and a happier tum!

Investigate festival initiatives

Sustainability and environmental-awareness really is coming to the fore in the festival business, so all kinds of initiatives can be found at events around the country. Some festivals offer beer tokens in exchange for returning a certain number of empty cups, or a free cuppa for cleaning up the trash around your campsite. Dig deep into your festival’s FAQs pages to find out how being green could pay off for you as well as the environment.

Leave no trace

More than 6.5 million people attended a festival or live music event last year in the UK, and according to research from Buckinghamshire New University, 60% of those admitted to freely discarding rubbish and leaving waste behind when they left – that’s a lot of rubbish heading to landfill. Most festival sites offer recycling facilities these days, so put beer cans, paper cups and cardboard trays in the bin instead of turfing them on the floor, and give your campsite a cursory sweep for rubbish when you leave – you’re a civilised human being, after all, and no-one wants to be wading through your rubbish. 

Most importantly, however, don’t abandon your tent! Cheap tents discarded at festival sites are a growing problem as they’re difficult to dispose of and represent a real waste of materials. Invest in a decent one that you can use year after year, or if yours really has seen better days, check if your festival has a tent drop-off scheme, where it can be recycled or repurposed, instead of dragged out of the mud and thrown in a skip.

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