Recycling At Festivals

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • ive been to a few festivals over the 3 years working as a litter picker and part of a group named the Maker Green Team we have achive a lot in 3 years and belive that our group is good at what it does we served 2000 tress and maker sunshine festival and achived good rates of recycling.

    i love this and hope to find fellow festival goes that think recycling is inportant at any event and hope you will pass on the message to be clean and green at your festivals that goes for all you festival goers and event i have come across some very nasty things in my time.

    anyway why not see what we do and drop us a line at


  • i was kinda hoping you hippys had some views of festivals and its rubish id love some feed back on what you lot think of the events you been to and the rubish but maybee this does not bother you or you just dont care about it its someone else to cleen up after your messy buns :P

  • That's a bit of a 'us & them' post. Most of the people here go by the principle of leaving your site tidy whether it be a park-up or a festival site.

    You could post a thread that said 'rich fat cats should not make the massive profits they do' but if the thread didn't get much response it wouldn't mean that we all supported the fat cats;)

    Anyway...good on you for wanting to keep the enviro healthy and clean from rubbish:clap:

  • Hello AJC!
    Nice to see this going on. I have worked at festivals before where recycling was not a big issue, I think it should be.

    When I lived in the UK I used to go to Omniscience parties in Kent, they always made a very big effort to clean up and recycle at their parties. This is the notice they send out before parties:

    1 or 2 points to remember!!!

    - Please drive carefully through local villages! If we don't attract attention we have a better chance of having a beautiful party.


    - WATER bring some!! Although we'll have plenty on site! It's always good to have some handy!

    It is very hard to leave a site absolutely spotless after a party, but we can get a fair way towards it if

    ...... we all bag up our own rubbish and take it home with us

    .... we burn or bury our loo paper

    .... we don't drop our fag-ends and roaches. Chuck 'em on the fire, or carry a film canister or other portable ashtray

    .... we have a few large communal fires rather than many small ones, and don't damage live trees (or farm fencing or buildings!) to get wood

    .... we all stick around for a bit to help clear up at the end.

    Bliss among the trees this summer will be even better with a clear conscience!

  • crewed at a few festivals mostly on the gates, worst i been to is the ecofest in lincolnshire, loads of 40 gallon drums around the site for rubbish people just dropped it where they stood, mid-night on the sat it was a sea of discarded bottles in front of the stage, i think some people just switch their brains off when the word festival is mentioned


  • Hi. You'll find that many people here work picking litter at festivals as well as being keen recyclers. It is a joy to see a completely clean field at the end of an event, and a source of amazement at the amount of crap people leave behind them. It's as if people think that reality is suspended and dumping rubbish is included in the price of admission.

  • great to see some responce and ye we are trying to get the message out to all festival goes to clean up and recycle. as for crew the crew at sunrise and waveform wher as mess if nit messer than the punters!.

  • its loverly wot you are sayin mate but seriously you are preachin to the converted ere...
    i think you will find that people who use this forum DO respect the festy sites that we go to- we are not a bunch of part time hippies that can pick this lifestyle up an put it down when it suits us- its a way of life and respect us for it-just because you are crew does not mean that judgement can be cast down from on high to us lot-without punters there would be no festivals,and though it breaks my heart to see how much crap is left behind ,by punters,stall holders, and generally everyone who thinks its someone elses job to clear their shit up -pleeze... give it a rest on here, most people suscribing to this forum genuinely beleive that we can help/educate/set an example and do our damnedest to live by these principles, so come on mate you aint tellin us what we already know
    anarchy peace and freedom to you (my own personal polotics!)
    but get out there and make it happen- Michael Eavis`s 'love the farm-leave no trace!' campaign this year had little or no effect- I hope you can come up with a better solution to get these dickheads to do the responsible thing... rant over. xxx

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it'
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends Of Voltaire, 1906.

  • I will not go to some festivals anymore or with certain people I know, because I find there disregard for being green so disgusting.

    Last time I went to Reading I was so uspet, with the burning of bottles, tents, fag butts on the ground that I swore I would not go again. It was not the organizers or the teams that work hard, but the a majority of the mindless sods who thought it was funny. Even the thought of free beer did not seen to deter them.

  • reading is not a festival - it is an open air corporate money generator...

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it'
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends Of Voltaire, 1906.

  • cheers mate we as one.....

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it'
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends Of Voltaire, 1906.

  • yep and guess wat- some people are football hooligans- some ppl are fuckwits- strangely there is crap everywhere- my point is generally on this particular forum we kinda got a bit of respec for the planet on wot we live, and bringing litter awareness to the 'casual' festy goer is a great idea-hopefu lly you can get it through to ppl but really most ppl on ere are aware- hats one of the reasons we are on ere- to possibly thrash out ideas that will help make this planet a better place to live with...

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it'
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends Of Voltaire, 1906.

  • AJC may be preaching to some here who may be converted - but thats not his point!
    Every event we do is different and every year each event can be different too. At the end of the day even if we provide adequate bins, recycling points and volunteer cover some people still leave their camps trashed. Many of us have been round the block alot and some of us have experienced events past tense that can only be described as 'Landfill sites' post festival. Saying that we have noticed a dramatic improvement in recent years. Prior to recycling at festivals some events in the old days were tragic scars (for a hole host of bad reasons). Treworgey Tree Fayre springs to mind as one of the worst! With the emphasis now thankfully things have changed for the better - but still there's loads of room for attendees to make a difference and be responsible and really improve sites. Leave no trace... interesting message...we can only try!

  • one of the things that exassipated the mess atTreworgy was the number of dogs there,even if you managed to bag up your rubbish there if ya left it on the ground for five mins a dog would come along and trash yer trash!,a problem that has been largely adreessed by more reacent festies, lessons were definately learnt-nowadays a policy of 'no dogs,no glass bottles' seems to be almost universal,perhaps 'no plastic bags' would make people more aware of the amount of crap that they take to events, indeed , at Lattitude this year a £2 deposit for reuseable pint glasses worked very well, the place was left a lot cleaner that any festy I`ve ever been to...

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it'
    Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends Of Voltaire, 1906.

  • i relly love hearing all your experiances you have had at events and it is such a great thing to thik ther are some events that do atally care and try to do somthing.

    with being a member and doing some event over the past few years with the maker green team it been a big eye opener and lerig curve to deal with the rubish left at the end our goal is recyclye everything we can posible recyle and even seprat every bag posible we have made some great efforts and achived around 50% + some event we had lots of contamination from the ovius MUD!.
    but overal i think we had made an inpact and try to push the message to the camer traders and crew to keep it green and clean.

  • …..Not recycling at festivals! With Aluminium at around £900 a ton as it was this summer. (currently around £600)
    A beer can is around 10 grams, At any large event the value of scrap metal could manage to pay for the litter picking with prices like that.
    Festival sites, which get used from year to year, need forest gardens planted on site.

    Then ALL organic material, cardboard, paper, food scraps, catering waste etc. could be used to grow food without it having to leave site at all. As well as enhancing the site enormously.
    Then there is the thing of absolutely banning the use of disposable non-organic plates, mugs, cups etc.
    Wooden disposable cutlery compulsory. This reduces landfill and all that lovely biomass can go to do something useful.
    Bikebodger is here reminding me that all that Styrofoam and plastic cutlery is still more fossil fuel. And he says that manufacture biodegradable disposables in Europe. (Most are made in the far east :()
    After this There is a value on clean and sorted glass and plastic, but it’s not a lot.

    At the end of the day it comes down to personal responsibility (education?) of punters and experienced, joined-up thinking from organisers. I have seen some disastrous messes after events, but also seen the rubbish 99% sorted and gone while the stragglers are still leaving… It all depends.
    If the onsite production of rubbish is controlled and the disposal plan innovative then the horrid mess can be swung round as a net gain and asset to the environment.:clap:

  • Some fair points Feanor, indeed alloy prices this summer were good, the problem we faced in our operations is 'cross contamination' of mixed metals. Some scrappers/reprocessors are very particular about cans. Some of the leading beer sellers use steel/tin as opposed to alloy, so if not separated effectively this ends up as 'scrapings' yielding around a market value of £150 per ton. Next year we hope to be using industrial size mobile separators which might ease these issues!

    As with festival sites, environmental legislation is very tight here in the UK - generally for all the right reasons. However, sometimes this can get in the way and scare the hell out of land owners. We've always taken the view that where possible its always better to leave compostable materials on sites. From our experience most landowners are reticent about this in case 'something untoward happens'. We've also worked with landowners who have composted on sites producing fine quality material which has gone back.

    Biodegradable, yep totally agree, 'Cornstarch for the Nation', though watch out for 'waxed lined' cups even if they are sugar/corn starch made!

    Education, access and 'self responsibility' thats what its all about from us - things really have improved greatly in recent times, but some attendees & crew still really need to get there acts together, maybe a little 'social policing' from other attendees might change this (but I fear not). I'm the first 'never' to flag up draconian methods, but theres still a hard core who won't take responsibility. We had a situation this summer where a 'trashed camp' was left just three meters from a set of bins - I ask you!. Guess I'm preaching to the converted here (that sounds grim) but some really need to sort it out, or just 'sort it'!

    Come see what we here:

    Also new Maker Green Team Facebook group here: :thumbup:

  • Oh yes, if it helps convince some of those land owners then the Soil Association now approve mulching and composting with cardboard and paper due to the fact that printers have cleaned up their act over the last few years in regards to toxic print and glue etc.

  • It might help if festival organizers actually supplied recycling bins in all areas. At glade there were no bins on site at all. There were a few drums for fag buts with wire mesh over the top so you could not out anything in them. i raised it with some organizers and there excuse was that its a
    terrorist thing . Like the fact that london has no bins for the same reason. PISS POOR I SAY ! (excuse my french)
    in the review the organizers had the cheek to blame the chai stall for the plastic cups left everywhere:wall:

  • the festivals ive worked at in Scotland seem to be well organised, with recycling points all over the place :D,
    most public visitors did there bit and seperated rubbish into black & green bags,
    The attatudes towards recycling is definatly improving,and it is so satisfying to see clean fields after a few hard days cleanup.:)

  • English Community Festival Organisers / Organisations?

    Seasons greetings from the Maker Green Team!

    Between 2009 & 2010 the Maker Green Team through our proposed new two year project 'Scumbusting England' are seeking 20 events to support, fund & organise waste & recycling schemes (subject to outcomes) at your event.

    If your event would like to benefit from our support please visit: and email the Project Director using the contact button.

    This offer is for small events with a site population no larger than 12,000 persons across England.

    If your are a greenfield community event organisation, a not for profit festival or part of the Transition movement in your locality please contact us ASAP to be part of this important Project. We have limited provision in 2009 (just 10 events proposed).

    Interested? We have a deadline of March 1st 2009 regarding this offer of support.

    Thank you.