In recent years we’ve seen festivals taking steps to be more sustainable and reduce the amount of waste – from banning glitter to implementing returnable cup schemes. It’s great to see so many festival organisers finding innovative ways to reduce the impact on the planet whilst still delivering incredible events.
Love the Farm, Leave No Trace
Having completely banned all plastic water bottles in 2019 and installed more drinking water fountains around the site, Glastonbury Festival has this year banned vapes as well as non-biodegradable glitter. The OG of festivals has been pioneering in many ways since it started back in 1970 and is still leading the way when it comes to environmental issues, including plastic pollution – its motto, ‘Love the Farm, Leave No Trace’ aligns with our own mission and we’d love to see more festivals follow their lead in taking steps to ban plastic water bottles and other polluting single-use items.
If you’re off to a festival this summer, you too can do your bit to reduce your impact on the environment and take steps to reduce waste. Make Michael Eavis proud and follow our tips to stop plastic from taking centre stage this festival season.
1. Sparkle without the glitter
You may not know but while glitter may appear to make everything shimmery and beautiful, its usually made from a combination of aluminium and plastic and is, essentially, a microplastic. When we wear glitter at festivals, we are essentially throwing huge amounts of microplastics all over the beautiful natural environment. Many festivals have now banned non-biodegradable glitter which is a huge step – but one that can be difficult to enforce. We suggest avoiding glitter completely and finding other ways to add sparkle and shimmer to your best festy look such as with make up spangly festival garms. But if you just can’t party without glitter, be sure to go for the biodegradable stuff.
2. Waterproof yourself
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, someone once said. Weather true or not, one thing is for certain, British festival season can mean enduring monsoon-style downpours and mud baths to unbearable heat and the ground so dry you can forget about that mallet and tent pegs. Seasoned festival-goers know to pack for all eventualities – and that means wellies and waterproofs. Even if the forecast says sun all weekend, we all know the British weather can turn suddenly leaving you in the queue to buy a plastic poncho that will be chucked as soon as the sun comes out. Be sure to pack your waterproof just in case and avoid plastic poncho-buying at all costs!
3. Ditch the wet wipes
We know how tempting it can be to avoid the shower queues and do a quick wet wipe wash in the tent to freshen up instead – but did you know most wet wipes contain plastic and end up polluting not only the campsites, but our waterways and clogging up our drains and pipes when flushed? Avoid being part of this problem by bringing reusable make up pads and a flannel to the festival.
If you really cant face the showers, we suggest a quick wash with soap and water (you could use your reusable water bottle), followed by a freshen up with a deodorant bar or refillable deodorant to fight the festi funk (or embrace it, no judgement here)
4. Enjoy Festi Food – without the side of plastic
Festival food has come a long way over the years and the choice of top nosh food trucks these days is pretty impressive. However, the amount of single-use packaging they generate is enough to dampen even the highest festival spirits. Avoid contributing to the problem by bringing your own lunch box and cutlery and enjoy your grub packaging and guilt-free. When you’re done, remember to give them a rinse at the nearest sink and get them out when you next get peckish.
5. Got the bottle?
While not all festivals have gone as far as Glastonbury in banning single-use plastic water bottles, most will have plenty of taps, fountains and water stations for you to refill at so be sure to remember your reusable water bottle. When you choose to reuse this festival season you’ll stay hydrated, save plastic and save money too!
6. Plastic Free Pints
Some festivals like Houghton and Bristol’s Love Saves The Day are already pioneering returnable cup schemes where you pay a deposit for your drink in a returnable cup which you get back when you return it, helping to avoid the huge amounts of single-use plastic cups that get wasted at events every year. If your festival doesn’t yet have a scheme like this in place, why not take your own reusable pint cup and ask for beer refills in that? Then be sure to call out the organisers on social media, letting them know festival goers want to see a returnable cup scheme and pointing them to our Cut the Cups Guide to help them sort it out for next year.
7. Vaping is not cool
Disposable vapes are a relatively new item on the worst offender list when it comes to plastic pollution but a boom in sales means they seem to be everywhere – with over 1.3 million disposable vapes being thrown away in the UK every single week, enough to cover 22 football pitches! Festival sites are increasingly becoming home to large amounts of e-cigarette waste and, with vaping on the rise, this problem doesn’t look like its going away anytime soon. Festivals like Glastonbury are starting to ban vapes and we hope to see more following their lead. In the meantime, avoid vaping at festivals all together – your lungs and the planet will thank you for it!