We had a massive number of entries for GREAT BIG GREEN IDEAS 2011 and some really interesting ideas – which we really hope festival organisers will take notice of. There were quite a few ‘threads’ running though the ideas, particularly ideas promoting green travel and ideas reducing waste on festival sites.

A number of entries were very keen on promoting alternatives to the car – in particular we liked Peter Nolan’s idea of giving green travelers real advantages in ditching the car – by allowing them early entry to the festival site and first pick of camping sites and Stephen Nicholls suggested that festival goers that travel to the festival by bicycle get a percentage taken off their ticket. Alan Hughes suggested that ‘combined coach and festival tickets’ should always go on sale before the ‘ordinary’ tickets go on sale so festival goers who want to use coaches get to get their tickets and coach tickets first. Something that we have already suggested to festival organisers – and the suggestion received a very positive response. Thanks Alan, Peter and Stephen.

A number of people also commented on the waste associated with disposable plates and cutlery – even if it is recyclable. Water bottles left lying around festivals were a real worry for lots of the entries including Gemma Watt, and Joel Ross suggested that festival goers should be encouraged to tahe their own plates up to food stalls and as an incentive they could get money off their meal. We are going to look into the practicalities of this (and hygiene issues) with a couple of event organisers and see if this works. 

Ben Harris said its “Time to kick some butts” and Ben’s idea is aimed at tackling the lesser known problems of cigarette litter, suggesting purpose made cigarette bins with bright coloured signs stating the facts that butts really do pollute and also giving away small portable ashtrays with programmes and lanyards, along with adverts would make a cheap and easy to implement campaign to reduce this “pain in the butt”! Thanks Ben and we can report that Ashcan already make a portable ashtray and some people use old 35mm film tubs as their own version. See

And Sally Eccleston pointed out that disposable nappies make up a large percentage of domestic landfill waste and that this may be true at certain festivals as well and Sally’s idea is to provide a nappy exchange – and used nappies could be washed on site or taken to local launderettes, ready to be taken on and reused at the next festival, and the next and the next… How many thousands of disposable nappies would this save from landfill? There was an organisation doing this called Blooming Bottoms but we haven’t heard from them recently. Its a great idea – we hope it comes to fruition!

Caroline Stringer suggested recyclable camping chairs (they exist – we have seen some made of card!) and suggested a tent hire scheme at festivals, with a deposit that can be returned once the tent has been returned in a good condition, as well as welly hire at festivals to prevents wellys being dumped, provides option for them to be reused or recycled.

Sarah Needham had a good idea (although one that would take quite some organising). Sarah’s idea is to have “a shop selling items from celebrities at the event e.g. a signed picture or a guitar but the payment method is in plastic bottles for example or another recyclable item” Sarah pointed out that this is a good way to promote recycling and get high profile names to put there backing behind it saying “it will appeal to younger people who are probably less aware of environmental issues and therefore can be a good education tool to them.”

All excellent ideas and it was hard to choose a winner – but here they are:

A well thought out solution to the problem with water bottles – and our FIRST PRIZE – goes to Ruth Hardy who said “There should be more standpipes or kiosks for festival goers to reuse their plastic water bottles with fresh drinking water for a minimal charge. Mountains of empty used plastic water bottles last year filled the waste drums (which needed tractors to come and empty them) or were chucked on the ground (which needed clearing up).” And its such a good idea we’re glad to say that Frank Water have teamed up with festival water provider Water Mills to provide a service just like this – see

Also a number of people in including Heather Macdonald and Claire Pascoe commented on the thousands plastic and paper cups, cans and bottles thrown away at festivals and suggested that reusable cups were the future. We agree that either souvenir cups or a deposit system works and Festivals like the Cambridge Folk Festival and Latitude already have resusable cups and Sonisphere is one of many festivals with a desposit system. 

Claire suggested the ‘Glastocup’ for Glastonbury that hangs on a lanyard but our SECOND PRIZE goes to Jacinta Elliott who said “As a visitor to the festival I am always astonished at the amount of plastic bottles, glasses and food containers that are left lying around. My idea is to supply everyone with their own pint size plastic cup which can be in funky colours and designs, each cup will have a hole to attach to the lanyard when not in use and every drink sold can be at a reduced rate if “Glasto Goblet” is used. It will be great if the Glasto Goblets could be made from re-cycled plastic. I also think that there should be a drinking water station and these Glasto Goblets can also be used for water station top ups maybe for a small charge to Water Aid. A great idea Jacinta – and a GREAT NAME!

And our THIRD PRIZE goes to Ally who said “Make all festivals“Clothes optional” adding “think how much water would be saved NOT washing all those sweaty clothes, how much pollution it would cut down on by NOT using washing machines, and also how much money it would save people having not to buy extra clothes for festivals”. We love it Ally!

All three prize winners will receive a goodie bag crammed full of festival goodies – CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff and our friends and the BIG GREEN COACH COMPANY will offer our first and second prize winners, Ruth and Jacinta, a pair of return coach travel tickets to any festival they are sending coaches too in the UK (its a long list but includes Sonisphere, V, Bestival, Hop Farm, End of the Road, Creamfields and Kendal Calling! For more see

Massive thanks to and Big Green Coach, the music travel company, and THANK YOU to everyone who entered. And here’s to your ideas getting festivals greener!

By |2016-11-01T15:05:31+00:00May 25th, 2011|AGF Blog|