Zerowaste at festivals

by Vera Markova
 Zerowaste at festivals

Festivals…we had to spend quite some time on research till we gather the needed information and we finally have some pretty good tips to share with you ; )

We love festivals. They’re colorful, fun, they often get great people together BUT they have 1 problem… the TRASH that’s left afterwards. According to Waste 360 (2017), big festivals like Coachella generate more than 100 tons of trash PER DAY!

In order to stop that catastrophe we first need to turn within. What can we change as individuals so that we don’t leave any trash behind us?

Let’s start with the cups. Unfortunately, a lot of the festivals are obliged to serve drinks in plastic cups for safety reasons (drunk party goers throwing glasses at each other are a hazard not only for themselves but also for other people around) BUT each one of us can bring a reusable cup and a water bottle.

The disposable plastic cups in which drinks are served at most festivals are NOT recyclable, they either get incinerated or end up in landfill. When one takes their own cup to a festival, he/she saves the nature potential trash and prevents the air we breathe from getting polluted. Moreover, all festivals taking place in the summer are obliged to offer tap water to anyone who asks for it so by bringing your own reusable water bottle to a festival, you’re saving the environment from a potential accumulation of trash and you’re saving money from all mineral water bottles which you would have otherwise paid for.

We advise you to also bring your own reusable cutlery, bamboo works best. Unfortunately, because of safety reasons many festivals do not allow guests entering with stainless steel cutlery. Take 1 reusable container with you as well and you’re ready for a 100% delicious Zero Waste Food Experience.

For all straw & cocktail lovers, get a reusable stainless steel/bamboo straw and bring it with you! Plastic straws, just like the single-use disposable plastic cups are NOT recyclable so after use they either end up in landfill or get incinerated.

Recently there has been a new worrying trend – the prices of tents have dropped significantly to the point that many people see them as disposable commodities! We advise you to purchase a good quality tent and split the costs with family/friends. You can take turns when one needs to use the common tent.

Another worrying item, part of the festival gear, is glitter. Plenty of the festival goers use it to decorate their faces and costumes but we pledge to you to opt for BIODEGRADABLE GLITTER so that you don’t find microplastics in your food and drinks afterwards.

Luckily, plenty of festivals worldwide take adequate plastic reduction measures. One of them is the introduction of deposit schemes. Here is how they work:

  1. You order a drink at the bar
  2. You pay for the price of your drink and you leave a small deposit for the cup your drink gets served it
  3. When you return your cup to the bar, you get your deposit back

Here you can see our founder, Vera, with such a cup at a festival in Ghent, Belgium

These cups are plastic BUT they’re multiple-use and they save the festival organisers and our planet plenty of trash. You can find such cups in Bulgaria too, check out Zera – zerowaste & multiple-use solutions

Some festival organisers, like one of the top employers in Bulgaria, Siteground, serve the food in compostable plates with compostable cutlery.Another good option is serving the food on reusable plates with reusable cutlery on a deposit scheme like it’s been implemented with the drinks. There are also festivals which use biodegradable plates made of palm leaves, paper straws and wooden cutlery.

Since fighting plastic alone is not practical, we’ll also write a few recommendations which festival organisers can implement:

  1. When one purchases a ticket for a festival, he/she should accept terms and conditions about taking care of the environment during the festival. The terms and conditions can include a prohibition of importing and using products made of plastic in plastic packaging, purchasing food and beverages on festival grounds only in reusable containers with the deposit scheme, using only biodegradable glitter, mandatory taking of one’s tent after the festival and more…
  2. It would be great if guests who do not generate any waste during a festival get rewarded for their model behavior. The rewards can be free drinks or a discount on a future festival ticket.

Banning festivals is not the solution, let’s not give up these great events but rather use our creativity to make them more sustainable and fun ; )

We believe in YOU!


Vera and The Team of Revolucia