Last year’s Great Big Green Ideas had a massive response of ideas to make festivals greener – and can we say thank you again to our friends at T-in-the-Park, Glastonbury, the Big Issue and Virtual Festivals for making this happen. In fact it was so good we are going to run it again – with a two fantastic goodie bags up for grabs – each stuffed full with exclusive festival crew T-shirts, CDs, DVDs and other festival memorabilia.
Last year lots and lots of people thought long and hard about travel – this was the top topic – with rubbish and discarded waste not far behind. In particular a lot of you commented on the waste involved in producing plastic water bottles and the number just thrown away at festivals, with suggestions ranging from banning plastic bottles altogether to providing refillable pouches to more on-site water fountains. A lot of people also suggested souvenir beer mugs to cut down on discarded plastic beer glasses – something a number of festivals including Latitude and the Cambridge Folk Festival are already doing – and the Amazing Cup Company now provides a service to festivals to provide reusable cups and glasses – and they can wash them too!! We hope these ideas spread to other events alongside deposits on beer glasses – which really does seem to be a great idea that cuts down on waste – and cigarette butt pouches to cut down on litter.
Other ideas included the simple proposal that people could label up unwanted items they are leaving behind – which anyone can then take – and that everyone should “take one piece of rubbish that’s not yours home." That said, we would rather people didn't leave stuff behind at all. Other people pointed out that lots of energy is being produced at festivals and suggested using the heat or kinetic energy created – “how about a Glasto gym where the pedal power created on exercise bikes is used to create electricity”. Another unnamed entry said “Get people to jump up and down on trampolines that use the absorbed energy from the jumping to generate electricity for the stage – that way, the more excited the crowd is, the more the band can play.” There are already bicycle-powered discos – so things are moving forwards!
That said, travel was high on everyone’s agenda and our winner, Matt Sweeney suggested coach shuttle schemes running from larger cities and towns that are close and fairly close to festival sites, which of course usually have rail and coach links, directly to the festival site. We know a lot of festivals are now working hard to improve coach access and it’s great to see dedicated festival coach services like The Big Green Coach Company and new bus companies like The Big Lemon coach and bus services being set up to help fans get to festivals with a low carbon footprint – so things are getting done!
Other people had loads and loads of good ideas and many festivals are actively looking at these – better recycling is key, tree planting is another (a number of Australian and American festivals plant trees) – removing car parking from sites and replace with shuttles is another idea – and Beach Break Live are doing this now. Getting solar panels on stage roofs was suggested and Glastonbury are going one better and Michael Eavis plans to install solar panels on his Worthy Farm buildings. We loved luminous guy ropes in campsites – we liked a ban glossy programmes and replacing them with recycled paper programmes (or even digital programmes on mobiles) and who wouldn't want to support recycling wellies and having clothing banks.
So now we need your GREAT BIG GREEN IDEAS for 2010. How do you think festivals can get greener? If you have an idea then please submit this (in less than 200 words please) to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Saturday May 15th 2010 – in the English language please. You can submit more than one idea but please make sure you do include your name and put the words 'Great Big Green Idea' in the subject box. The judge’s decision will be final and the winner and one runner up will win goodie bags. The best ideas will be published on this site in June and we will circulate the best ideas to all of the festivals participating in our Greener Festival Awards scheme 2010.
OK, finally, it looks like being a really excellent festival season this year – so a few quick tips for 2010: That old mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" is as relevant as ever – if not more so – and please take tents and wellies HOME. Try and uses coaches and public transport wherever you can – and if that is impossible then at least try and share your car and – and most importantly, have lots of fun!
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