It’s festival season and from my experience, music festivals and trash go hand in hand. Don’t get me wrong, the people that organize music festivals are definitely working towards making them more sustainable (there are now water refill stations, compostable dishware and flatware for food, composting to name a few innovations)… but whenever you gather thousands of people somewhere, there will probably be trash. The good news, you don’t need to contribute to that. You have a choice.
Here are a few simple supplies you can bring along to enjoy a music festival without producing waste.
Mason Jar: This is great for those new water refill stations as well as for putting your alcoholic beverages in. The other added benefit of having a mason jar is that if you want to move around, you can put the lid on your mason jar and put it in your bag to enjoy your drink later.
Organic cotton drawstring bag: I always have one of these when I am traveling because I like to fill it with snacks for when I am on the go. When I am at a music festival I usually take one with me full of nuts and dried fruit because festival food is expensive, lines are long, and I get hungry!
Bandana or reusable napkin: This is great to bring along for multiple reasons. You can wear it during a dust storm, use it to blow your nose, wipe yo sweat, or I suppose you could just use it as a napkin... boorrrinngggg.
Foldable stainless steel spork: Even if the flatware is compostable, it still takes energy to grow and extract the materials that make it, actually make the product, and ship it to wherever it’s going. I like to avoid that completely by just bringing my own stainless steel foldable spork like this one.
On top of having adequate provisions, there is the issue of what you pack. As a friend of mine said, "I’ve been packing for Coachella all year.” This is serious.
My two cents on how to have a sustainable and Zero Waste festival experience when it comes to your wardrobe...
1) The best option, wear what you already own. Sure, it is a scene, but chances are you probably have something that you can wear. I know I do.
2) I know it might seem tempting to go to some fast fashion store and get some trendy festival garb on the cheap, but there’s a better option that is equally as cost effective: secondhand. Not only will you be saving money on the clothing that you are wearing, you will not be adding new items into the waste stream. Also, it is much more unlikely that you will have someone with the same outfit as you and you'll be unique and fashion fotog ready. Win, win, win.
The one source of trash that is tricky... a plastic wristband. However, if your wristband is paper, recycle or compost it. If it is made of cotton or fabric, put it into textile recycling!