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7 safe ways to a greener festival in 2021

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By Christopher Appleby
27 May 2021
WOMAD Greener Festival
Waving flags at WOMAD 2019

How to have a safe, sustainable festival

Over 3 million of us attend music festivals every year in the UK, creating a staggering 23,500 tonnes of waste. WOMAD is already leading the way in sustainability, with a number of inspiring initiatives including green energy from Ecotricity and action on recycling, single use plastics, water and travel.

Whichever events you choose to attend, here are our top tips for a sustainable and safe summer of festivals.

1. Be Covid safe

Wide open spaces like those at WOMAD are perfect for keeping us secure, so choose festivals with plenty of room and check their plans for open-sided tents and spacing before you pay for that ticket.

Stay outdoors as much as possible and enjoy the countryside and music in harmony. Bring a stash of reusable masks for when you need them and you can even make your own hand sanitiser, the natural way.

2. Go to a green festival

Not all festivals are created equal. Many of the bigger events have a huge environmental impact caused by the logistics of running multiple stages over the festival period. So try to make sure the festival you head to is as green as it can be. Check to see if the festival you plan to attend:

  • Is powered by green energy

  • Provides clearly labelled recycling bins

  • Offers shuttle transport

  • Has a sustainability or environmental policy

To keep your transport emissions as low as possible, try and use public transport to get there.

3. Use biodegradable glitter 

A festival isn’t a festival without some shimmer and shine. But the glitter we’re all used to is a microplastic, and virtually impossible to remove from our beaches and oceans. Instead, buy biodegradable glitter so you can still sparkle without harming the environment. Eco Glitter Fun have a great range of eco-friendly glitter.

4. Use a decent tent

Thousands of tents are abandoned at the end of UK festivals every year with most ending up in landfill. So if you’re a regular festival goer, think about investing in some decent camping gear that you can reuse every summer. It’s much better for the environment, will actually keep out the rain and will save you a fortune in the long run.

5. Go plastic free

Festivals are renowned for their plastic waste – so much so, that many of them have now banned the sale of single use plastics out of concern for the environment. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a plastic-free festival:

  • Take a reusable water bottle, and fill up at the free water stations 

  • Take a reusable cup for your morning, afternoon and midnight coffee

  • If you’re camping, use reusable plates and cutlery

  • If you’re taking your own food, use reusable beeswax wrapping instead of clingfilm – it’s brilliant!

Our friends at Ethical Supermarket have some great plastic free goodies available – check out their website.

6. Recycle, recycle, recycle

Tens of thousands of tonnes of waste are produced every year at UK music festivals. A really simple way to cut down on the amount of waste you personally produce is to recycle whatever you can.

So track down those recycling bins – they won’t be hard to find because most festivals now encourage us to recycle as much as possible! – and challenge yourself to send zero waste to landfill while you’re at the festival. If you’re feeling creative, you could make an ecobrick during your festival – check out our blog for a step-by-step guide.

7. Eat plant-based festival food

One of the great pleasures of festivals like WOMAD is the chance to try all kinds of delicious food from around the world. There’s always a great range of healthy, plant-based foods at festivals and it’s an easy way to be green while you’re there – in fact, researchers at the University of Oxford have found that cutting meat and dairy from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by 73%.

Ecotricity use its profits to build new sources of renewable energy. So far, we’ve built 74 windmills and one solar park – and there’s more on the way!

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