How to be Eco-friendly at a Music Festival

With Glastonbury just wrapping up last weekend, it's not unusual to think about all the fun stuff that happened--especially how Glastonbury 2019 is much different than all the others that came before.

You might not know but, Glastonbury had a major rule change for 2019, and it's such a welcome one that we believe all festivals should follow their lead: single-use plastic would not be allowed this year.

Emily Eavis, the co-organiser of Glastonbury Festival, is making sustainability one of the festival's top priorities for 2019, and rightly so. According to the BBC, Emily told Press Association:

"Sustainability and the need to live in harmony with the land, has always been vital to Glastonbury Festival. Our festival sits on farmland; it’s home to a rich natural habitat and it is our duty to look after that year round. If we can help our Festival-goers to be more aware of their lifestyles and inspire them to live their lives more sustainably, we might turn these small ripples of action into huge waves of change."

Glastonbury Festival has been running for 48 years, having been founded by Emily's father Michael Eavis in 1970, and over the past few years a number of measures have been put in place to ensure sustainability. Instead, the festival is encouraging people to bring reusable bottles, which they will be able to fill up.

It's also about time for these mega-festivals to step up in terms of taking responsibility for their impact on the environment. The BBC estimates that around 23,500 tonnes of waste is produced at UK music festivals alone each year--with 1.3 million plastic bottles coming from Glastonbury last 2017, according to the Guardian.

Because of this, Live Nation Festivals including Parklife, Reading, Leeds, Latitude, Download, and Wireless have pledged to eliminate single use plastics by 2021.

While this is just a blip on the big picture, it's a definite plus for us to do whatever we can to make sure that we leave the world a better place for future generations, much like how music affects us. While this is an awesome statement, admittedly, there are still much more we can do to party responsibly. Here are some of the ways how:

1. Make the Trip Worthwhile

You know what leaves the largest carbon footprint during festivals? Emissions, specifically vehicle emissions. Car emissions are one of the biggest environmental issues at music festivals. Moving thousands of people from various parts of the world to one place obviously involves a lot of moving parts. It's an exercise in shrewd logistics. While hopping in a car with just one other mate gives you that joyride vibe consider what the Association of Independent Festivals states: "more than 66% of people travel to their festival of choice by car, with more people than ever travelling in a car of two or fever people."

If you must drive, try and fill up every seat in the car, or better yet leave your car at home and get public transport.


2. Bring Your Own Tent

According to the Association of Independent Festivals, other than emissions, abandoned tents are one of the biggest issues festivals face when it comes to sustainability.

There's an old urban myth that tents left behind at festivals will be donated to charity, while some festivals provide this service, The Independent states that around 90% of tents just end up in landfill. So bring your own tent or bring it home if you've already paid for it.


3. Don't Pee On The Grass

When you're stuck at the front of a crowd, far away from the loos, it might seem simpler to just have a cheeky wee in the field, but seriously don't. Every year Glastonbury kindly asks festival goers to be considerate and use the loos, but this isn't just because peeing outside is kind of gross and anti-social. According to the Glastonbury festival website, human urine actually causes toxic pollution harming fish and wildlife. So, if you want festivals like Glastonbury to stay open, use the loos provided.


4. Always Bring Reusables

Perhaps this is a good time for you to try and leave using single-use items altogether, wherever you may be. Bring along a reusable water bottle and metal straws. Again, stay away from tents marketed as single-use. And, yes it might be difficult to keep yourself clean at festivals, but try and avoid wet wipes, or if possible, buy biodegradable versions.


5. Get Biodegradable Glitter

Everyone loves a bit of glitter at a festival, but unfortunately most of it is awful for the environment. As Insider reports, glitter is actually a microplastic and ends up harming marine life as it's swallowed by plankton, fish, and even birds. It can even make its way all the way up the food chain and onto our plates. Did you know that an average Aussie eats a credit card-sized worth of plastics each week Luckily, there are loads of eco-friendly alternatives, so there's no need for festival aesthetic to damage the planet.

With these simple and easy to follow tips, there is really no excuse not to have your most sustainable festival season yet. Now party responsibly!

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