Leading a lifestyle of travelling the world for music festivals can quickly turn into a highly polluting activity if you’re not mindful of the trace you’re leaving on the world every time you go on a new adventure. This is not to say you should stop travelling and resign yourself to a life without music festivals but rather pick up some new habits that are kinder to our planet and help alleviate your environmental impact. Some music festivals have taken the lead on this by trying to raise awareness for sustainability and greener practices. But as festival-goers, we also have the power to let festival organisers and promoters know how we feel about becoming more ecological at their events. Jumpstart your journey to being more sustainable at music festivals with these tips and suggestions!
1. Say no to single-use cups to be more sustainable at music festivals.
Get yourself a reusable cup to travel with so you never have to use a plastic one ever again! Think of how many thousands of plastic cups get used at just one music festival. Even the biodegradable ones end up on the floor and they do not all get collected and take months or even years to disintegrate. From metal to bamboo or even collapsible ones, you will not have any difficulty finding one that suits you. Some festivals now give a cash incentive if you bring your own cup, such as a price on your drink, and others have simply banned them altogether!
Wonderfruit made music festival history in Thailand in 2019 when they announced that they would no longer be serving any drinks in single-use cups. Every single one of their festival-goers had to have a non-polluting and re-usable alternative. A daunting but successful operation, which proves that making the switch is definitely possible!
2. And don’t even think about throwing a plastic straw in that reusable cup.
One of the craftiest utensils you can carry around with you is a foldable straw. It usually comes in a little box you can fold it back into and a brush that you can use during the festival to keep it clean. They don’t weigh very much and can easily fit into your pocket or backpack. You will never need a plastic straw again!
3. Be more sustainable at music festivals by swapping out wet wipes for soap and water.
Support sustainable travel by ditching the wet wipes, these bad boys are definitely not bio-degradable and also contain plenty of harsh chemicals which are harmful to your skin and to the earth where they usually end up. If you are camping, then all you need really is a bar of soap and water to refresh yourself. I admit even I fell into a bad habit of carrying wet wipes around, they were always so convenient so I totally understand if you really can’t forgo the wipes. Instead, swap out the conventional brands for a more sustainable one, there are plenty of brands out there making biodegradable wipes these days.
4. Stop using plastic bags on festival grounds.
Plastic bags are one of the worst pollutants in the world, they are not recyclable (despite what some companies like to tell us…) and they always end up in the ocean, on our beaches, and in the wild. Be more sustainable by choosing a more resilient and ecological option, always have a reusable shopping bag handy in your luggage. Useful for laundry, for shopping, or for carrying a picnic!
5. If you want to sparkly, go with sustainable glitter.
With anything you should always think about where that product will end up when you are done using it. Ask yourself: is it detrimental to me, to others and to the environment? Glitter ticks all of those boxes… The truth is, once you wash it off it ends up in the sea which essentially results in poisoning the fish which you end up eating. Plastic is toxic, definitely not part of your daily dietary requirements. And once in your system it can have serious repercussions on your health. Just one of the many reasons why swapping to eco-glitter is the way to go! Do yourself and the fish a favour, stop purchasing that plastic glitter and swap for a biodegradable option!
6. You can eat your way to a greener planet.
Replace plastic plates and tableware with foldable Tupperware and bamboo cutlery sets. Neither take up much room, they’re also easy to carry and clean. You can also safely store any food you do not finish for another meal instead of throwing it away and wasting it. And think of how beneficial being able to whip out your cutlery will be, you will never have to turn down a meal again or get your hands dirty! You’ll never miss a meal again! One of my favourite brands is Bambew, they manufacture organic bamboo products that will revolutionise your festival and travel pack.
7. Rethink some of your wash bag essentials.
Bamboo is also a clever substitute even for some of your personal hygiene supplies, namely your toothbrush! You will never have to send another sad plastic toothbrush to a landfill ever again! Check the label to make sure that the bristles are also biodegradable, sometimes they’re still made of plastic which kind of defeats the purpose. If you want to take it a step further, swap out your plastic cotton buds for bamboo ones too! With these items, you’ll be well on your way to becoming more sustainable at music festivals!
8. And do the same for your toiletries to be more sustainable at music festivals.
Say goodbye to buying all those travel-size soaps and shampoos! Rather than throwing them away after one use thinks to keep them and refill them from a big bottle at home. If you’re already on the road then try to find a local refill centre (or refillery) where you can bring empty bottles to replenish your stock of cleaners, and even home products such as detergents and washing up liquid which you can use on your clothes and tableware!
9. Plant more leafy giants in the world.
Buy trees to reverse your carbon (CO2) emissions next time you travel. It does not matter whether you are flying, driving, taking a bus or riding the train, if it has an engine that runs on fuel then it is creating toxic CO2 emissions and releasing them into the air. Carbon emissions are one of the primary causes of climate change. One of the ways to combat and reverse it is to plant more trees that can absorb atmospheric CO2. Check out Make It Wild, a UK-based organisation that provides several packages to offset your carbon emissions. They also provide all sorts of other sustainable travel products!
10. Respect the culture and the people.
Sustainable practices also extend themselves beyond the confines of the music festival you’re attending. Open your mind and heart up to the place you’re visiting. Look after nature, listen to the people and discover their culture. Make it more than just about music, turn it into an empowering and meaningful journey. Many music festivals host charities and NGOs, as well as include segments on the local culture into their programmes, so have a walk around and explore everything in sight.
Everything in the world is moving towards becoming more ecological, we can all play a part in making that happen at music festivals! I hope these tips will be helpful to you and on your future festival travels. The best thing about them all is that none of them will disrupt the amount of fun you have. They’re quick and easy switches that drive a positive message and make a big difference in being more sustainable at music festivals. If you have any advice you would like to share about how you make a positive difference then drop a comment below!