Eco-friendly ways to enjoy this summer’s festivals

"Я не жертва обстоятельств, я - результат моих решений." Стивен Кови ZMEY
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Working out how to get to a festival is a large part of any attendee’s preparation, especially if you’re travelling with a lot of kit, so it’s well worth planning in advance to find more environmentally-friendly options. The collective carbon footprint racked up by those travelling to festivals can be huge – up to 80 per cent of all UK festivals’ total emissions – so start by looking for alternative modes of transport, such as bikes or trains. You could think about organising a carpool to get you and a group of friends to the site. Don’t know anyone else going? Websites like GoCarShare and Liftshare provide a safe way to find a seat in someone’s car. It’s a good opportunity to make new friends – just make sure to be mindful of your safety if you are meeting people alone.

Take your own water bottle and cutlery


It’s always good to be prepared, especially as many festivals are cutting down on plastic waste this year. Carrying your own water bottle and cutlery will help you dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that gets thrown away. Familiarise yourself with water refill points so you don’t get caught short if you’re lucky enough to score a festival heat wave. You’ll save money you would have spent buying endless plastic bottles too. You can find stylish reusable bottles from Global Wakecup and S’well. Invest in a good-quality set of travel cutlery to make sure you won’t need to use disposables. Joseph Joseph’s stainless steel set nestles into a handy silicone spoon-shaped pouch to keep it clean, and Shurlple’s Toolbox is a collapsable spoon, fork and chopsticks kit that comes in a biodegradable wheat-composite box.

  • Eco-friendly ways to enjoy this summer’s festivals

    Embrace bio glitter

    Last year the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) announced its ‘Drastic on Plastic’ initiative, and its 60-plus members – among them Bestival, Boomtown and Field Day – have pledged to ban single-use plastic by 2021. Glitter, made from tiny particles of plastic, is included in this list, so if you want to sparkle this year make sure you make the switch to bio glitter. Made from plant cellulose, it’s fully biodegradable and not only does this make it kinder to the environment, it’s also easier on your skin. There are loads of great options out there, such as EcoStardust and Wild Glitter, which both come in handy recyclable tins. Eco Glitter Fun stocks kits that include a bamboo brush and recyclable pots of organic aloe vera gel to apply your shine.

    Borrow camping equipment – and remember to take it home


    It’s estimated that each year, 250,000 tents are left at music festivals across the UK. Don’t forget, tents are made of plastic too – the average tent weighs 3.5kg, the equivalent of 8,750 straws – and they can’t be recycled. Not only is this a huge waste but it leaves organisers with no choice but to send perfectly usable equipment to landfill. AIF’s ‘Say No To Single Use’ initiative, launched earlier this year, is urging all festival goers to take their tent home with them. Instead of buying cheap equipment that you are likely to leave behind, invest in durable pieces that can be used again and again. For a great range of PVC-free and ethically made tents, check out Vaude. If you know you’re unlikely to ever look at a tent again once you’re back to normality, why not borrow what you need from friends or family? Hire companies like Outdoorhire also offer a huge range of camping gear and will deliver it to your door.

  • Eco-friendly ways to enjoy this summer’s festivals

    Don’t take wet wipes

    We’re no strangers to the devastating effects that flushing non-biodegradable wet wipes has on the environment – they block sewers and find their way into our rivers and oceans (they contain plastic too, BTW). Even biodegradable wipes will cause festival sites issues once you’ve left if they’re not disposed of correctly. Instead, take along some reusable cloths to remove make-up and glitter. Cheeky Wipes sells make-up removal kits containing their bamboo pads, coconut oil and a reusable container to store everything in. They’re especially handy when a shower isn’t immediately available, and you can simply pop your used pads in a bag ready to be washed when you get home. If you do have access to water, a cleansing bar works wonders. Ethique’s bars come in travel-friendly sizes; just wet them down and the concentrated formula will remove make-up and leave your skin squeaky clean.

    Take a bamboo toothbrush


    Discarded plastic toothbrushes are another big issue for festivals as they’re not biodegradable or recyclable, meaning they end up in landfill or are incinerated. If you are tempted to ditch your toothbrush at the end of the festival, make sure it’s biodegradable. Zero Waste Club’s bamboo toothbrushes are both sustainably made and biodegradable; the bristles are made from BPA-free nylon, which is recyclable. They’ve made it even easier for you to take your toothbrush wherever you go with this bamboo travel case. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial so you can be sure that your brush won’t be harbouring any nasty germs on its trip. All this and they’ll send your order in an eco-friendly Jiffy bag and even plant a tree for you too.

  • Eco-friendly ways to enjoy this summer’s festivals

    Choose local and organic food on site

    Another big carbon output for UK festival organisers is getting food to revellers, as most vendors will travel the country to get to festivals throughout the season. This doesn’t even include the carbon footprint of obtaining the raw ingredients themselves, especially if they offer meat dishes. You can help by supporting local vendors and stalls that offer seasonal, organic food. Choosing vegetarian and vegan meals will also go a long way to helping festival organisers and vendors cut down their carbon footprint. Many festivals are proud to list their food vendors on their website so if you can, do a little research and pinpoint some good options ahead of time.

    Have fun with vintage

    Festivals are the perfect place to discard any sartorial inhibitions and experiment with some really out-there looks. Many high-street brands will be selling a lot of ‘festival’ pieces at this time of year, but they’re usually cheaply made knock-offs of amazing vintage that’s much better quality and that you could find elsewhere for around the same price. Instead of buying new clothes to take with you, have fun finding your festival outfits at vintage shops. Beyond Retro’s range is extensive both in store and online or make a day of it with a trip to a vintage market or fair. Traid also has amazing preloved and vintage options for every festival dress-up theme, and they use their profits to fund education projects to end child slavery and forced labour in the garment industry.

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