Beat plastic waste at festivals

Beat plastic waste at festivals

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Today is World Environment day and so many people & organisations are sharing great tips on how we can minimise our impact on the planet and live greener lifestyles. We are joining in and have decided to start a mini series of blogs focusing on beating plastic pollution.

Plastic is everywhere – for better and worse. Of course plastic can be very useful and very convenient which makes it pretty much impossible to avoid completely … there are even micro fibres hiding in our clothes for example. But many plastic products are made to be single use and often get disposed of in careless ways which means that tonnes of plastic pollution has found it’s way into our oceans. We know this is harming sea creatures and animals but we don’t yet know the wider consequences of the micro and nano fibres that are making their way into our own food chain.

Our series of beat plastic waste blogs will focus on how we can take action and reduce the plastic in our own lives; in our homes, out and about, at events and festivals, and also how we can take action on a local level and start to make a difference in our own communities.

So summer is coming (it might actually be here already) which means we are all going to be outside more heading to events and festivals. Whether you are popping to a local food festival for the day or camping out at a festival for a whole weekend there is bound to be plastic involved.

Lots of big (and small) festivals and events are trying to be greener in lots of ways and try to make it as easy as possible for you to recycle and reduce waste so why not go that one step further and try out some of our top tips to beat plastic waste at festivals and events…

1. Borrow instead of buy
When it comes to festival kit there is always lots of plastic involved from your tent and air bed to water carriers and cooking equipment. Most of us only use this stuff a couple of times a year and then it just sits in our loft so instead of rushing out to the shops to buy your own gear why not ask around to see if someone can lend you some festival kit. When we all jump to buy cheap plastic equipment just before a festival it drives demand for more to be made and the quality is often so bad that you need to buy new for next year anyway. Just make sure you pack it all away carefully after using it so they don’t mind lending it to you again….big thanks to my brother Stephen who lends us his camping gear every year!

2. Bring your own
So many of us now have reusable water bottles and coffee/tea cups and they can be so handy at festivals and events, not to mention you will often get a discount off your drink when you use them! I like to double up my water bottle as a booze bottle for festival nights out too…just try to remember you have done this the next morning when you have a hangover thirst! If you want to go one step further you can now get reusable metal and bamboo straws and even cutlery. The straws are great for making sure you don’t spoil your festival make up and they even come with a super cute pipe cleaner to wash them out.


3. Talk to a Trader
Be super nice if you are going to do this. Food and drink traders at festivals and events are working very hard and long hours and probably won’t respond well if they feel they are being accused of creating plastic waste. But maybe a nice compliment about their stall followed by a question about their plates or cups, or asking whether they need to give out straws might just do the trick. Even simply asking how you can recycle the cup/plate after you have used it is a good start and will hopefully lead to them considering making a change. I find the worst culprits to be coffee and tea vendors – watch out for those stupid plastic stirrers and cups that look recyclable but are actually plastic lined! If you don’t feel you can have a chat face to face then why not tweet or email them after the event or get in contact with the festival organisers.

4. Keeping clean
Now we all know this can be a little tricky at festivals. I can never be bothered to queue for the showers and sometimes it’s easier to just have a quick wipe in the tent. This is when wet wipes seem to be the only option and they used to be my festival default, but did you know that most wet wipes contain plastic? This is pretty worrying as so many get flushed down the toilet and head straight for our oceans – never ever flush them! Luckily there are alternatives – look for plastic free wet wipes or reusable wipes. In fact it’s actually pretty easy to make your own if you fancy it! I also like to avoid taking lots of plastic bottles to festivals by packing a face soap and solid conditioners and shampoos. There is the added bonus that you won’t have to worry about anything leaking in your rucksack and it saves on space too!


5. Stay sparkly
A festival wouldn’t be complete without a bit of sparkle! Love it or hate it I bet it ends up on you somehow! So it’s actually quite surprising that even the most eco-concious of us festival goers haven’t considered that glitter is just tiny bits of plastic that get washed straight down the drain and into our oceans after our festival fun! But never fear there is a planet friendly solution for your sparkles – eco glitter has arrived and is easy to find, online at least. Eco glitter is made from plant cellulose from Eucalyptus leaves and will biodegrade in soil of water within 90 days. Two of our eco-glitter favs are Eco glitter fun and Bristol based Eco Stardust who even donate 10% of their profits to environmental charities. Good work.

Photos from Blue Lagoon festival goers, Sparkles hoop troupe and Shelley gardens food fest. Thanks to all photographers! Cover photo by Rosie Williams of Mam.ento Photography 

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