Gone are the days when the idea of a festival was synonymous with a ground covered with trash and food filling up bins. Festivals today are getting smarter and reducing waste in multiple ways. It’s difficult for them to be entirely waste-free, but they are taking steps to get cleaner. Responsible rubbish removal is the way to go id we want to live in a healthy and cleaner environment. Here are five festivals that have reduced waste and how they have done it.
- Burning Man: Burning Man is a great example of a festival that is reducing waste. It has recommendations for festival goers to reduce their food waste on its website. One involves buying everything they need at their local store and not on their way. That way they can repack everything in reusable containers so packaging won’t be left behind at the festival location. Also, they recommend foods that won’t go bad quickly or start to smell bad in the heat and to bring less food than you than festival goers thing they will eat. They encourage sharing of food but say most people lose their appetites to an extent. Instead of sending food waste for rubbish clearance people have the chance to consummate the leftovers that are in good condition.
- Coachella Music Festival: Run by Goldenvoice, this festival aims to recycle and compost 90% of its waste. Not relying on individuals to clean up after themselves, staff members are required to go out and clean up and recycle as the festival progresses. That being said, festival goers are sometimes rewarded with prizes for waste clearance and recycling.
- Austin City Limits: The vendors at the annual ACL fest have made an effort to reduce food waste by sending leftovers to the Central Texas Food Bank. The festival takes place in a park in the City of Austin so the city has an active interest in keeping it clean. Attendees are encouraged to refill their water bottles, recycle, and food waste is composted.
- Glastonbury Festival: With a similar leave no trace policy to Burning Man, Glastonbury encourages festival goers to bring food in reusable containers and take everything back home with them. Even the cutlery at Glastonbury is now compostable. In 2014, 983 metric tons of waste were diverted from landfills and recycled in one form or another. This includes food waste which is composted.
- Connemara Green Festival: This is a relatively new festival, but since its topic is biodiversity and celebrating Mother Nature, it’s hard to imagine that it would have a negative impact on the environment. It also has a leave no trace policy and Leave No Trace has workshops at the festival. There are more green festivals like Connemara in the United States as well that feature eco-friendly waste removal policies. It’s almost impossible to litter or waste food at these festivals.
Large festivals still have food waste. Individuals still have to be willing to clean up after themselves and sometimes be aware of themselves and how much food they are bringing with them to the festival. Not all festivals have food service. Festivals like ACL have food service, but compost waste and send leftovers to food banks. Festivals like Burning Man encourage people to bring food and share whatever they can’t eat. Burning man also gives people the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items. By giving festival goers the opportunity to donate food, the organizers are helping the attendees appreciate the value of food and perhaps get them in the mindset to reduce waste. Waste disposal is a serious problem we need to solve in order to live in a greener environment.