Waste Management

/Waste Management
Waste Management2017-05-03T12:04:11+00:00

Waste Information

Love Your Tent
A film by A Greener Festival.

Message in a bottle from Glastonbury 2008
MI7 and the Recycled Orchestra created a Message in a Bottle from Glastonbury to the world.
Video courtesy of GreenpeaceUK.


– Scott Pringle MSc Dissertation Summary – Recycling at Festivals

– Claire O’Neill on ‘Big Butts’ – Cigarette Butts Article (PDF)

– Tent Recovery Program (2008 Case Study) (PDF)

– Re-Usable Pint Cups (2008 Case Study) (PDF)

News on Glastonbury 2007 and their waste…see:
and; http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news.aspx?id=1947

– Handy tips for green campers (PDF download)

– What’s in your bin?(PDF)

– This much I know…(PDF)

– The UK Rubbish Mountain(PDF)

– A Greener Rider (PDF) – Music industry lawyer Ben Challis has put together some clauses which could  be added to a band’s rider – ensuring that concert promoters provide methods of limiting the environmental impact caused by their events. Please feel free to download and include all or just some of these clauses in your rider – or change these to meet with your own views – but make sure you get proper legal advice before you use this material in a contract or other legally binding document!

– Green’n’Clean (PDF); a booklet produced by Yourope, the European Festival’s Association (www.yourope.org).

– Environmental Legislation (PDF); a factsheet produced by our own Ben Challis.


The Hazardous Waste Regulations Act (2005) provides that hazardous waste can not be sent to landfill with non-hazardous waste. A statement regarding new regulations on the disposal of waste was published in the industry magazine ‘ Event Organiser’ in September 2004, and warned event organisers that the industry would now need to reduce and recycle its hazardous waste instead of sending it to landfill.

This shows that legistlation is making changes in waste management. Is it better and more cost effective to wait for legislation to enforce change, or to prepare and stay ahead of the game?

I have worked at many large festivals and have been impressed with the standard of recycling at Womad and Glastonbury; however, Glastonbury would benefit by having the bins changed more frequently.

Working on a food stall we used bio-degradable cutlery which I think is better as cutlery with deposits would only bring up issues of hygiene and spread of disease and infections.

Festival visitor response, 2006

Waste Management at Festivals

Waste generated at festivals is one of the most prominent environmental impacts that festivals have. Not only is there a great deal of waste generated at many events, it is the most visible impact to the festival-goer. Besides the unsightly factor of waste, it can also pose health risks. This is also one of the most costly expenses for festivals and should be given careful consideration in the planning process.

Most festivals are now implementing some form of environmentally aware waste management schemes. Any who do not are sadly lagging behind.

Festival Organisers can consider:

  • Allowing use of only biodegradable disposables or re-usable cups and plates on stalls.
  • Providing separate bins for recycling.
  • Utilising volunteers and potential sponsorship for the clean-up and sorting efforts.
  • Seperating waste for recycling
  • Involving the crowd by supplying recycling bin bags and either a returnable rubbish tax or reward incentives.
  • Providing standard, recycling and biodegradable bin bags for traders.
  • Create sculptures using waste generated on site (e.g. plastic bottles)
  • Consider health, safety and hygiene.
  • Being aware of legislation and being prepared.

From an internet survey of 649 festival visitors the following was found with regards to attitudes to waste management at events:

  • 71% strongly agree or agree that waste is a negative environmental impact of festivals. This was the factor that most agreed upon.

18% of the comments made by festival-goers related to this issue, and festival organisers also referred to waste as a key environmental impact with 6 respondents with recycling schemes.

  • 81% agreed or strongly agreed that if provided with separate bins they would separate their rubbish.

Organisers and festival-goers themselves made comments indicating that even the most well intending person may drop litter etc, especially where alcohol is consumed. This could prove a challenge to enforcement.. Network recycling indicated a 30% recycling rate by festival goers as the average. There does need to be some planning beyond the provision of separate bins, as some litter picking and sorting is inevitable.

  • 57% of festival-goers agree or strongly agree that re-usable crockery and cutlery should be used instead of disposables at festivals.

2 of the 56 comments made highlighted hygiene issues with this approach, and suggested that recyclable/bio-degradable disposables would be better.