Glastonbury may be over for another year (and what a year it was) but there are plenty more festivals to come this summer in the UK. But plenty more festivals, unfortunately, means plenty more waste.
Fear not though, Elephant Box have some tips and products to help you have a low waste festival season.
How bad is the rubbish at festivals?
Well, just because all the acts have finished and the punters gone home Glastonbury is still far from over. The clean-up is supposed to take around six-weeks and cost in excess of £785,000 - over 1,000 volunteers have been drafted in to help!
It’s not just Glasto though, rubbish at Reading increased by 205 tonnes between 2013- 2015! While more and more festivals are getting greener there is still one big problem - plastics!
Plastics - the big problem
Plastics and festivals have a well established relationship - mostly in the form of pint glasses. Glasto is just one of the festivals leading the way in addressing this matter. For several years the site has offered stainless steel cups to revellers - for a £5 deposit - and go to good lengths to recycle their paper cups.
Festivals such as Latitude, Reading/Leeds, and others are also trying to address the problems of plastics by emphasising their recycling drive but no matter how hard they try it’s up to those attending to make sure that they reduce their waste.
How you can have a low-waste festival season
Here are some top tips and handy products to help you have a low waste festival season.
Forget the plastic bottles
Plastic bottles - why are we still using them! Plastic bottles are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to pollution. Coca-Cola alone produces a truly staggering 3,400 disposable plastic bottles every single second. There is no excuse to still be using them. Switch to reusable stainless steel bottles instead.
Go to the bar - in a green way
It’s understandable that festivals don’t want 20,000 people walking around with glass pints but disposable plastic cups are not the solution. While Glasto (and others) are introducing stainless steel cups for a small deposit why not bring your own and save the hassle of queuing to get one and then forgetting your deposit.
Don’t ditch the tent
10s of 1000s of tents are abandoned at UK music festivals each year. While there are some good people coming up with some innovative solutions to this problem - sending abandoned tents to refugees and the like - the fix needed is much more basic. People need to stop treating their possessions as disposable.
It’s the same mindset that sees people dump things outside of charity collection points on rainy days - the possession that they are disposing of has no value to them and they don’t care if it could have value to others. So, when it comes to tents remember ‘trash is for tossers’ and listen to advice from Glastonbury itself - “a tent is for life, not just for festivals”.
Pass the paper plates
It’s not all about mud and dodgy burgers - the rise and rise of bespoke festivals, combined with changing dietary trends, has made festival eating a more delightful experience than it used to be.
But take your food-grade, stainless steel Elephant Box down with you and pass on the paper plates to help reduce waste.
Zero waste/lifestyle blog Gippsland Unwrapped suggests bringing your own food, wrapped in reusable packing in order to avoid plastic and polystyrene waste. It’s also worth wrapping any personal cleaning items in reusable packaging.