Our Festival Essentials – Partying Without Plastic

Festival season is upon us, and Charlie Lally has rounded up her essential festival packing list for having a great weekend without waste.

Festivals are the ultimate summer party. Nothing gets us more excited than picturing a weekend in the sun, listening to amazing bands and dancing with a group of friends. Sadly, it has become evident that festival goers contribute to the increasing waste epidemic, with an estimated 23,500 tonnes of waste created every year from festivals. And 68% of it goes straight to landfill. 

Thankfully, there are many simple changes we can all make to reduce the impact our weekend of entertainment has on the planet. While we cannot guarantee a sun-soaked weekend, we can make sure that you are prepped for brilliant time without leaving a trace behind. 

Here’s our list of festival essentials for partying all weekend, plastic-free:

Stay hydrated

Thanks to climate change (or climate crisis, as superhuman Greta Thunberg has rightly named it), it’s not unlikely to expect a weekend of soaring temperatures and summer sun. 

Between the heat, raving and running between stages, it’s a no-brainer to keep your water supply well-stocked, and as all festivals will have running water onsite there’s no reason to waste your money on plastic bottles from the shop. 

There are an array of pretty and practical reusable water bottles on the market – a purchase that will save both the planet and your wallet!  

We love Chilly’s collaboration with City to Sea on their Refill campaign – reducing the need for single use water bottles around the UK.  

Avoid plastic ponchos

In the not so unlikely event of a drizzly day, any stage headliner can expect to play to a sea of plastic hoods. Not only does it add an unflattering plastic sheen to your Coachella-inspired outfit, plastic ponchos tear easily, are discarded as soon as the sun comes out, and nearly always come in an additional plastic bag (really?). Instead, invest in a good raincoat, like this one from Ecoalf – #30wears guaranteed!

Carpool (Karaoke optional)

Travel typically constitutes around 80% of a festival’s total known CO2 emissions, and the majority of festival goers travel by car.  Public transport is the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, but if you’re planning to wait in a queue of cars outside Somerset for half a day, why not spend it with a car full of friends and a playlist of your festival favourites?  If your vocal talents are similar to ours at Eco-Age HQ, we suggest a lip sync battle.

Check out our Top of the Eco-Pops for some inspiration!

Conscious camping

Most importantly – pack up your tent and take it with you when you leave.  It’s estimated that 250,000 tents are left behind at festivals every year. Tents are mostly made of plastic, and while you might think that your discarded tent is going to be collected and sent to charity, the vast majority left behind at festivals end up in landfill.   

Although bad weather and general wear and tear can lead to your tent being damaged, there are many options available for recycling and donating unwanted tents:

  • Donate to Help Refugees, who will repair and distribute tents from their warehouses to displaced people across Europe.
  • Gift Your Gear take unwanted tents and donate them to community organisations and charities working with young people in the outdoors.
  • Alternatively, rent with Camplight – who will prepitch tents and provide facilities at numerous festivals around the UK. Just turn up and enjoy! 

For more tips, read our guide to travelling plastic free.

Check out our Top of the Eco Pops for all of the Eco-Age HQ Monthly Playlists.

Get ready for summer with our best natural sunscreens guide and ethical women’s sandals.