Going green: how to festival with a conscience

This week: portable ashtrays

Going green: how to festival with a conscience

Alison Kerry on 10 March 2011

It’s hard to find an ashtray in the middle of a field at a festival so like most people, what do you do? You throw the cigarette butt to the ground and stamped out never to be seen again, right? Well, no actually. The cigarette butt is made of a type of cellulose acetate, the same substance you find in plastic bags and bottles. Depending on environmental conditions, it could take up to 18 years to biodegrade.

Think of how many festivals take place on farm land. Once the event has packed up and moved on, the animals get their fields back. Think about how many butts where dropped in that field over the weekend and how near impossible it would be for the cleaning crew to pick up every last one of them.

The amount of chemical additives tobacco companies use in their cigarettes varies but they range from ammonia and carbon dioxide in the tobacco to triacetin and titanium dioxide in the filters. Suddenly this litter problem has become a more serious environmental issue.

That cigarette you discarded at Glastonbury 2005 could possibly still be in the same field you dropped it. Unsuspecting cows could be munching away on your butt right now. Or it may have floated into the stream running through Pilton Farm and that chemically infused butt is now seeping into the water supply the cows drink every day. It was just one cigarette. Who cares right? Now do the mental math. Times that one cigarette by the number of people smoking and the number of cigarettes they smoked at the festival over the weekend. It’s too scary to contemplate.

Smokers can still be responsible green festival punters without having to quit their habit by simply using a personal portable ashtray. There are many options available for you to tidy away your butts in the appropriate manner. You can improvise your own personal ashtray by using an old tin of breath mints, or something similarly inflammable. Or, as many anti-litter campaigners have been handing out for recently, you can get yourself a fantastic ‘Stub Tidy’ or ‘My Ashtray’. These are small fireproof foil-lined pouches, smaller in size then a pack of cigarettes, which easily fits in your pocket. Its not messy, it doesn’t smell and when you pass a suitable rubbish bin, you just empty the pouch.

You can even go up market on ashtrays if you’re so inclined and get yourself a chrome portable ashtray with cigarette holder.

This is such a simple, effective and inexpensive way to go green at a festival. With minimal effort you’ll ‘leave no trace’ and feel better for having done your bit for a better environment.

My Ashtray
Keep Britain Tidy
Cigarette Litter
Why Quit

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