One of the biggest challenges for a festival is to remain environmentally aware. With thousands upon thousands of attendees, often bringing one-use plastic tents and plastic bottles, changes often need to be made elsewhere to make sure a festival isn’t having a detrimental effect on the planet.
Using Camp Bestival as an example, they work really hard in making the festival environmentally friendly as possible. From compost toilets in the main festival area to recycling points in all the camp sites, they regularly encourage you to do your bit when attending the festival. In addition, they invite organisations such as Frank Water – who offer unlimited water refills and reusable water storage options (whilst also supporting a number of charities) – and the Big Green Coach for those travelling from London.
With this in mind, and to make it easier on festival organisers, we will often try and do our bit for the environment by bringing things with us that are re-usable and/or recyclable – or not at all – starting with our tent and ending with the way we dispose of any rubbish.
Here are our tips:
By the time we attend this year’s Camp Bestival, our tent would have seen three festivals, two back gardens, and a last minute camping trip. It’s so important you invest in a decent tent. Not only does it last an age, but it will protect you in the harshest of weather – and we know!
Bringing along a “festival” tent is no good for the environment as they quite often end up in landfill as opposed to being recycled as the materials used are cheap and are only good for single use.
Tip: Before you go camping, make sure you “weather” or “wet out” your tent. This process means that it’s more likely to withstand showers and will result in our tent lasting longer!
Food & Packaging
Aside from the tent, the next most important thing on our packing list is the food we’re taking with us. Although we try and pack light, we also don’t want to be spending a fortune on snacks and drinks for T, so bringing quick and easy meals and snacks is a must. But, more often than not, convenient food is wrapped in several pieces of plastic or mixed materials that can’t be recycled – before you even get to the edible bit – and that’s not ok.
With this in mind, we will often remove a lot of our food from it’s packaging (so we’re not leaving it behind in the refuse bins) and placing it in metal or bamboo lunchboxes, or wrapping it in parchment (eg. Pancakes and flapjacks). We then keep it in our cool-box to keep it fresh. Things like eggs will remain in their cardboard cartons, and any packaging that we do end up having we take home at the end of the festival if we can’t dispose of it properly at the festival.
Tip: Any left over water at the end of a day can be boiled and used for washing up water!
Eating & Drinking
Although we will spend some time eating out, our breakfasts are usually consumed in the tent. With this in mind, we always use reusable plates, cutlery, cups and mugs, made out of either metal or bamboo.
Water-wise, we never rely on buying water as we don’t want to increase our use of plastic, therefore we often bring water bottles with us and make use of the many top-up points. In addition, when we’re looking for somewhere to buy food we will often scour their use of one-use plastic packaging and avoid at all costs if they’re using it.
Tip: Bring metal straws with you so that you’re one less family taking a straw from a drinks vendor. Plus, they keep cold drinks colder for longer!
Unless you want to completely shut off from the world during your visit to the wilderness, you’re probably going to bring a phone and maybe a camera with you, however these still have an impact on the environment if you’re going to be thinking about charging them, not to mention the batteries used in things like bed pumps!
With this in mind, we try and use re-chargable batteries where possible. Most batteries come with a re-chargable option these days and often save you a bit of money in the long run. Any lighting we have is run on solar or kinetic energy (eg. wind up lamps and torches) and any power packs we do have are reusable and are eventually disposed of properly (although we don’t expect this to happen for a number of years!)
Tip: A lot of phones these days have a battery saving mode. Switch it on during your festival and not only switch off a smidge, but you won’t need to recharge your phone as often!
We appreciate that unless you walk, for example, you’re never going to be 100% environmentally friendly when it comes to attending a festival or going camping, but if everyone made a few small subtle changes then it would make a HUGE difference to not only the festival – have you seen the aftermath of some festivals? It’s disgusting – but to the environment.
We’re trying incredibly hard to be conscious of the environment and our footprints – as are festivals – so if you have any advice or tips please feel free to pop them below!