Slowly, the world is becoming more conscious of its contributions to pollution and thankfully, most people are wanting to clean up their acts. The plastic-free movement isn’t new, however, it has certainly gained traction in recent years. Images of trash filled oceans and shorelines fill our timelines, while videos of animals either consuming or being killed by our plastic waste go viral. With many cities and countries worldwide putting bans on single-use plastics such as plastic bags and straws, the global community is becoming more aware of their choices and collectively working to save the world one plastic water bottle at a time.

The mindful music industry

Music has always been powerful at influencing the masses and music festivals and companies are stepping up to do their part. Live Nation, the world’s leading entertainment company, announced to go plastic-free at all their concerts and festivals by 2021. Shambala has banned plastic water bottles since 2014 and is almost completely plastic-free. Countless festivals and venues are following suit.

We’ve all seen or witnessed for ourselves, the horrifying images of festival grounds once all the people have dispersed for the night. Empty beer cups, plastic water bottles, confetti, abandoned signs, and even inflatable pool floats litter the grounds. Festival staff quickly clear the areas in order to prepare for Day 2, not having the time nor energy to sort it for recycling.

littered festival grounds at Glastonbury
Image Credit: Mark Large/REX/Shutterstock

For a generation that prides itself on being aware, we’re really dropping the ball here. We need to do better, so here are a few simple ways for you to go plastic-free at your next festival.

Take your tent home

After a weekend of fun and music, cleaning up your campsite and disassembling your tent may be the last thing you want to do. You aren’t alone. It is estimated that 250,000 tents are abandoned on festivals grounds in the UK every year, most ending up in landfills. A single tent is equivalent to 250 beer cups or over 8000 plastic straws. You wouldn’t leave that mess behind, would you?

While there are initiatives underway, like those at Sziget, that have charitable organizations come collect tents for donation, what gets left behind compared to what is donated is huge.

If you are a frequent festivalgoer, think about investing in a decent tent that won’t be damaged easily. Chances are you or a friend will attend another festival later and you’ll get another use out of it. If not, walk it over to the nearest donation drop off or your local shelter or community center.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle)

Many festivals already have a plastic water bottle ban in effect. They’ve offset the ban by providing other solutions including the addition of dozens of free water bottle refill stations or selling canned water as Bestival does.

girl at shambala filling her reusable water bottle at a water station
Image Credit: Shambala Festival 2013

Packing a reusable bottle is crucial to a safe survival at your next festival. If a backpack ruins your festival look or you fear holding a water bottle may impede your dancing, think about picking yourself up a collapsible bottle. These bottles shrink down to a size that will fit in your fanny pack. Another viable solution is using a carabineer to attach the bottle to your belt loops.

If you’re one to opt for a cocktail or beer over the course of the festival but don’t want booze in your bottle, think about bringing a reusable cup. Most festivals, like Sonar Barcelona, have a reusable cup program, that charges a small deposit fee for a reusable cup which you can trade-in for a clean one as regularly as you like, and get your cash back upon its safe return.

After all that dancing and drinking, you’re bound to be hungry. Bring your eco-consciousness to a whole other level and pack your own set of reusable cutlery. Available in cute and convenient roll-ups, you can eliminate your need for plastic forks and knives when it’s time to chow down at the food trucks. Rinse them, roll them, and repeat.

bamboo reusable cutlery in linen roll
Image Credit: Amazon

Guilt-free glitter

We know that glitter is to electronic music what oxygen is to human survival, so we would never stand between you and your life force. However, we hate to break the news that those little glistening specks are typically made from plastic, never breaking down. This may have come to your attention after no matter how many times you’ve showered or cleaned up your apartment, there still seems to be remnants of your last rendezvous with sparkles.

The glitter that does wash down the drain contributes to the world’s microplastic problem and seriously affects marine life. Plankton, fish, and birds gobble up these microplastics when they make their way into our oceans. But as we know, plastic is not food and definitely not good for our fish friends. Marine life actually ends up dying of starvation due to the build-up of plastic in their systems. These microplastics have even found their way into our food chain.

3 festivalgoers wearing costumes and glitter
Image credit: Bioglitter®

Next time you plan to glitter-bomb yourself pre-festival, try reaching for the biodegradable variant. Plant-based and antimony free Cosmetic Bioglitter® lets you create the ultimate festival look that’s 100 percent green. For those festivals we mentioned that will be plastic-free by 2021, this will also include glitter. So, be proactive and get into the habit of choosing an environmentally-friendly alternative.

When you pack for your next music festival, keep in mind that it’s cool to be conscious and minimize your plastic-use. Future festivalgoers will thank you for keeping their planet clean.

Have your reusable water bottle packed? Check out this article on how to keep hydrated at your next music festival.