Festivals and Sustainability

Festivals and Sustainability

Written by Tom Henry

Festival season is wrapping up and leaving us with less of a tan than we might have hoped for, and more mileage on our wellingtons! We don’t know about you but here at Wype we don’t mind getting a little muddy in the name of a good time… After the eventful yet socially uneventful year we’ve had to endure, we’ll happily wade through some grime to gather around a shining beacon - whether it be literal flames, or a well lit stage! No better time to connect with nature and each other 😊

So, where do you be lay your head to rest? Is it stargazing surrounded by the sounds of the forest, singing songs around the campfire with your kids, or bringing out the earplugs and hoping for the best? Do you sleep at all?

Guitars at a music festival

Sleep might be optional at many festivals, but there’s one occurrence that always comes knocking with some sort of regularity, and you know we’re here to help! You can glam up your camp, but who’s going to give that tush some love after the booze poos kick in? You better not be using wet wipes! Those bad boys are hard to swallow for your toilet, you don’t want to imagine what they can do to a festival setup. Pack a handy bottle of Wype, and keep your sheriff badge shiny past the last encore.

And while we’re on the subject, when you’re walking around the campsite with your glistening badge, you might as well take on some of those Sheriff responsibilities! According to Creative Carbon Scotland, festivals are known to generate over 2.7kg of waste per person per day. That’s pretty much the equivalent of a Chihuahua made of trash!

Why not be a model citizen and make sure you leave no trace in your beautiful surroundings, as well as keeping a kind but watchful eye over your neighbours? Everybody knows that after a few drinks caution often gets thrown to the wind, and that’s fine by us, just as long as it’s not a tumbleweed of plastic bags, empty bottles and wrappers setting the scene in your Western world...

It's good to do good, but at the end of the day the bulk of responsibility falls on organisations and the culture that they build around their events. Have you asked yourself what steps your festival of choice is taking to stay green?

What are festivals doing to be more green?

After setting up their temporary wonderlands in the middle of nature, are our beloved festivals leaving the place like they found it? What happened after that seventh cocktail you had on Saturday? You might not remember, but what about the straw, cup, bottle, and the glitter that you’ll be trying to get out of your sleeping bag for the foreseeable future?

Look out for carbon footprint offset policies, water refill stations, cup deposit schemes, bans on straws and -gasp- all plastic bottles (Like Glastonbury recently introduced). Finally, campsite deposit stations – for ‘left-over’ tents, tarpaulins, sleeping bags, which are a major source of post-festival waste.

UK Sustainable Festivals

We know here in the UK we have some of the best festivals in the world, but which are the greenest of the lot? Check them out and see how they are colouring the party green.

Wilderness, Oxfordshire

Glastonbury, Somerset

Shambala, Northamptonshire

The Green Gathering, Wales

Love heart with hands at a festival

What can you do to help

We’ve written a few blog posts in our time to help you become more sustainable in the bathroom but there are a huge amount of quick switches at music festivals which can go a long way too! 

First and foremost, leave the single-use plastic at home..! Festivals have water refill stations all over the area so make sure to bring your refillable bottle to avoid unnecessary plastic waste. We’d recommend getting a collapsible one from Hydaway, they’re awesome! Got a hangover and need a caffeine pick-me-up? Well how about taking your reusable coffee cup and asking for your fix to get poured into that. You’ll be saving the local coffee vendor money as well as helping the planet - it’s a win win! 

Planning to be chugging more beer than coffee? Purchase a snazzy carabiner mug and link it to your belt loop, so when you feel like dancing you can quickly go hands free without littering!

One of the biggest problems that UK festivals suffer from is tent abandonment. Did you know that it’s estimated that around 250,000 tents are dumped at music festivals in the UK?! Believe it or not, tents are mainly made of plastic and on average each weigh around 3.5kg which is the equivalent of 250 plastic pint cups. We’re not going to do the maths but that’s A LOT of plastic. A large number of festival goers believe that deserted tents are either recycled or donated to charity but this isn’t the case at all! Nowadays, tents are so easy to literally pop-up and take down, so why not save it for festival season next year? If you’ve decided that festivals aren’t your cup of tea then you could sell it or give it to a friend - just don’t abandon it! 

Tents left at music festival

Are you planning on going to the festival with a bunch of friends or friends of friends? How about linking up beforehand and doing a car share. Not only will you save the hassle of trying to find each other in the festival with no phone reception but you’ll also be saving money on petrol and again, helping your carbon footprint. According to BBC Earth, a coach cuts out 20 cars’ worth of emissions, which is handy when you think that UK festivals produce 21,800 tonnes of carbon emissions per year!

Other quick switches we’d recommend:

  • Swap microplastic glitter for an eco-friendly & biodegradable alternative.
  • Say no to the disposable poncho and take a comfy raincoat instead - you can use it as a pillow as well!
  • Pick up some sustainable materials and dust off your sewing machine to create a unique festival look.
  • Take a solar powered portable charger to charge your phone.
  • Purchase a reusable bamboo straw for you and your friends.

Your Festival Best Friend

We’re not here to butt in, but think that our Wype Mini is the perfect festival companion. As we may have mentioned a fair bit in the past, wet wipes are immensely damaging to the environment and so the last thing that we’d want to see is thousands of wipes scattered across UK soil. With its convenient travel size of 30ml, our Wype Mini is an awesome alternative to ‘flushable’ wipes. Simply add a pump of our Aloe Vera and Vitamin E enriched natural cleansing gel to regular toilet paper. Then flush the tissue, sending it on its way to a delightful decomposing journey - our gel is 100% safe to flush and biodegradable!

Wype Mini at a festival

Onwards and upwards!

Festivals have come a long way and are constantly striving to reduce the negative impact they’re causing on the environment. In 2016, Glastonbury launched their Love the Farm, Leave no Trace initiative in a bid to become more eco-friendly and in 2019, 99.3% tents were taken away after the festival. For a music event with over 200,000 people, this is extraordinary. Kudos, Glasto! 

Campers walking at a festival

Could they still be doing more to become more plastic-free? Let us know in the comments!

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