A Waste Expert Reveals How to Be Green at a Festival

As festival season kicks off, the excitement of music, food, and camaraderie fills the air. Ticket sales have been on the rise, and this summer could see a further increase following 2023, where ticket site Skiddle found that around 1.3 million festival tickets were sold on their site.

The Festival Waste Report by Vision 2025 found that camping music festivals generate more than 20,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions while simultaneously producing 23,500 tonnes of waste, of which 68% goes directly to landfills. This is why it’s essential to consider the environmental impact of such large-scale events.

From plastic waste to excessive energy consumption, festivals can take a toll on the planet. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy the music while reducing your carbon footprint and saving money along the way. Scott Hawthorne of Skips and Bins, one of the UK’s leaders in commercial waste removal, has provided expert insight into how to make the festival experience greener.

Think reusable – cups, cutlery, and more

One of the simplest yet most impactful ways to be green at a festival is by ditching single-use plastics. Instead of reaching for disposable cups for your drinks, opt for reusable ones. Many festivals now offer reusable cup schemes, where attendees pay a small deposit for a cup and receive a token or refund when they return it. Not only does this reduce plastic waste, but it also encourages responsible consumption. Plus, you can save a few pounds by reusing your cup throughout the event.

Another eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastics is bringing your own water bottle. With hydration stations becoming increasingly common at festivals, it’s easier than ever to refill your bottle throughout the day. Not only does this reduce plastic waste, but it also saves you from splurging on overpriced bottled water inside the festival grounds.

Spend your money sustainably

When it comes to food, look for vendors that prioritise sustainability. Seek out stalls that use compostable or recyclable packaging and source their ingredients locally. Supporting eco-conscious vendors not only reduces your environmental impact but also encourages others to follow suit.

Transportation is another aspect of festival attendance that can have a significant environmental impact. Why not take a road trip to your next weekender with friends or take public transport to reduce carbon emissions? Many festivals also offer shuttle services from nearby cities or train stations, making it easier than ever to leave your car at home.

Disconnect and drop your energy consumption

Once you’ve arrived at the festival, be mindful of your energy consumption. Unplug any electronics before leaving home to avoid unnecessary energy usage. If you’re camping, you can try out solar-powered chargers to keep your devices powered up without relying on grid electricity. You can also take advantage of any recycling or composting facilities provided by the festival organisers. Separating your waste ensures that materials are properly disposed of and can be repurposed or recycled where possible.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not try your hand at eco-friendly camping? Consider renting or investing in sustainable camping gear made from recycled or biodegradable materials. From tents to sleeping bags, there are plenty of eco-friendly options available that won’t break the bank.

Offset your individual impact

Finally, consider offsetting your carbon footprint by supporting environmental initiatives. Many festivals now offer carbon offset programmes, where attendees can donate towards projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whether it’s reforestation efforts or renewable energy projects, every little bit helps in the fight against climate change.

Going green at a festival doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. By making small changes to your behaviour and supporting eco-friendly initiatives, you can reduce your environmental impact while still enjoying all the festivities. From reusable cups to sustainable camping gear, there are plenty of ways to be eco-conscious while having a great time. So next time you head to a festival, remember to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories.