A Greener Festival: Glastonbury Festival

The green ethics of Glastonbury

A Greener Festival: Glastonbury Festival

01 June 2009

Glastonbury Festival recognises that running the event at Worthy Farm has a direct impact (both positive and negative) on the environment. The festival is committed to enhancing the environment through our operations wherever possible, and minimising any negative impact. The festival also commits to maintaining the rich and diverse environment that has evolved through alternative land usage. Holding a festival once a year in the middle of the growing season prevents the use of environmentally damaging conventional farming practices which would have a more intrusive impact on the ecology.

Glastonbury wants people to think about their journey to the festival: to use public transport or if coming by car to share transport with others.

The festival is committed to minimising the amount of waste, and managing the on site collection of that waste efficiently, “reduce, reuse and recycle”. The festival organisers want all festival goers to think ‘zero waste’ and to take home what they bring onto the festival site with them. We want festivals goers to think responsibly when they are packing there things to come to Glastonbury, don’t bring items that will end up in Landfill, or that you won’t be able to take back home again. “Limit what you bring, and clean up behind you.” The festival commits to continuing its policy of reducing the percentage of waste that goes to landfill, by placing controls on what is bought on site by staff, contractors, sponsors and traders and by emphasis on their responsibility not to bring items that will end in landfill.50% of the rubbish is recycled. All cans, glass, paper, wood and organic waste are separated and recycled. 15, 000 bins around the site clearly identified for either wet and dry recyclable materials or non-recyclable rubbish.

In 2008 the festival recycled 105 tonnes of composted organic waste, 725 tonnes of chipped wood, 80 tonnes of hardcore, 15 tonnes of glass, 48 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 25 tonnes of cardboard, 20 tonnes of scrap metal, 20 tonnes of clothing, tents, sleeping bags. 1150 tonnes of waste was recycled.

‘A tent is for life not just for a festival’, we want to encourage people to not just buy the cheapest tent, spend a little extra and buy yourself a tent that is going to last you a lifetime of camping experiences rather than just a festival or summer.

The festival is committed to maintaining the high level of bio-diversity that was found on the festival site by the independent bio-diversity audit carried by Liz Biron of Somerset Environmental Records Centre in 2003. The festival aims to further increase this level by continuing its commitment to protecting vulnerable habitats, its new county wildlife sites, badger sets, ponds, streams, hedges and ditches, in nature reserves and non public zones or by fencing them off. In 2005 a temporary reserve was created for a deer that emerged in Hawkwell, by the pyramid stage, when the public arrived on site on the Wednesday. Using 500m of heras, a three acres reserve was created in the heart of the site, from which the deer emerged unscathed at the end of the festival.  

A practical reality to this commitment is that the festival for the 9th year running will be enhancing the environment of its core site by trees and hedge planting on site.  The planting to date has brought the total number of native tree and hedge plants planted to over 10,000 since 2000.

Since 2007 all the programme bags have changed from being plastic bags to specially commissioned unbleached 100% cotton bags. All the Glastonbury festival t-shirts are printed using water based (non-pvc) inks and dying is carried out using vegetable dyes.

We are striving to keep pushing ourselves on the green issues within the festival. All the wood used by the festival is locally sourced and wherever possible it is Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) suppliers, ensuring it is sustainable sourced.

Traders – all cutlery used by market stalls must be wood, not plastic. All cups and plates are made from a compostable material. Truck movement has been reduced by having an onsite wholesale market. All traders have their food waste composted. It is stipulated that all tea, coffee and sugar must be fair-trade.

Glastonbury festival is a midsummer celebration of life and joy, but we must not lose sight of our undertakings to achieve the best possible balance of nature and resources

“Love the Farm, leave no trace”

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