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How to Practice Sustainability at Festivals

Music festivals are incredible because they bring together people from all over, and they will be back and better than ever in 2022. However, major festivals in the U.S. like Coachella, Stagecoach, and Desert Trip generate around 100 tonnes of solid waste every day. It isn’t all bad news though! Many festivals are working towards being greener by eliminating plastic packaging, providing reusable cups, implementing a tent tax, and more. Even with these efforts, it’s up to those who attend these events to be responsible for themselves and aware of the impact their actions can have on the environment. Here are a few of the many things I do when I attend festivals to be as green as I can.


I mentioned this in my “How to Have a Green Halloween” article, but glitter, sequins, and plastic embellishments remain unaltered in the environment for many years, adding microplastics into our ecosystems. Certified biodegradable glitter from Bioglitter is going to be the best option because they are the only biodegradable glitter that has passed the freshwater test. Many companies market glitter that isn’t actually biodegradable, so do your research and make sure it is before you buy or avoid the glitter altogether!

Camp Consciously.

According to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), an estimated 22,700 plastic tents could be left behind at UK festivals. If you plan on camping, invest in a durable tent you can reuse and use as your “festival tent.” Not only will you be saving money in the long run, but you won’t be adding to the thousands of tents left behind due to laziness. If you don’t want to invest in a tent, borrow one from a family member or friend! When it comes to camping supplies, don’t leave those either. If you were able to bring it with you, you can bring it back home.

Festival Fashion.

Many people buy single-use outfits for festivals because they would feel embarrassed wearing an outfit to a special occasion more than once. This mindset created by social media isn’t only harmful to our mental health, but it also harms the environment because people are actively choosing to buy something that adds to the fast-fashion cycle. If you are embarrassed by wearing an outfit more than once, ask a friend if you can borrow something or see if you can rework clothing you already have. If you really want a new fit, I recommend spending more on a hand-made, environmentally conscious brand like Loonigans or Edgy Jayd!

Pack with a Purpose.

When packing, bring things that can be reused as much as possible. In the past, I’ve brought reusable utensils and straws, a camelback, my hydro flask, reusable snack bags, a makeup eraser, and washcloths. I use some of these items every day, but when it comes to festivals specifically, I put in extra effort to bring reusable items that don’t create more waste.

Reduce Carbon Emissions.

If you plan on road-tripping, get as many people into the car as you can! This will help you save on gas and parking, and you can switch off driving. Not to mention that road trips are so fun! If you live close, I recommend sharing an Uber/Lyft or taking public transportation. When I was at Audiotistic over break, we took the Caltrain which was actually cheaper than an Uber or Lyft. Do a little planning ahead of time to see how much you can walk and where you can share a ride.

Clean Up.

This one is pretty obvious, but clean up after yourself and encourage others to do the same. If you can take trash and/or recycling back with you, do it! It really does take the whole community to ensure that these places aren’t completely destroyed and we can continue to have festivals.

Festivals are one of my favorite things to go to, but it’s important to understand the environmental toll they carry with them. Through my articles, I hope I can educate and inform more people about the importance of environmental awareness in general, but also when it comes to raves and music festivals!

Hannah Curran

CU Boulder '22

Hannah is a Junior studying Creative Technology and Design. She is passionate about website development, graphic design, digital art, and of course, writing! Hannah also has her own sticker business, @whoishan!
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