Breaking news: festivals go plastic-free

plastic free festivals

Festivals are for rocking out, not littering. 

But unfortunately, that’s not happening.

Because even with 89% of festivalgoers wanting to be more eco-friendly when it comes to festivals, reducing festival waste is a challenge

BUT, that hasn’t stopped some of the UK’s top music festivals from trying! From Glastonbury to Latitude, Reading & Leeds to Download, the live music industry is ready to say no to single-use plastics, with some astonishing results. 

Are you ready to make some changes, too? Download your FREE copy of our Festivals & Events brochure now for all the very best in festival merch.

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Why there’s a plastic issue: festival edition

With the scar of Woodstock still visible 50 years later, the plastic issue is still ongoing for many festivals, even now. 

The amount of plastic waste created by music festivals in the UK is enough to make your eyes water. Or at least make you never want to buy a plastic bottle again

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Tents aren’t recyclable

Plus, you can’t forget the issue of tent pollution. They are the largest source of waste at festivals, with approximately 77% being abandoned every year. That’s a lot of tents. And they’re not just being left through laziness. They’re being abandoned because many festivalgoers believe tents are recyclable. Sadly this isn’t the case, as tents are made from so many different materials it’s practically impossible to recycle them. 

With these staggeringly high numbers of waste create every single year by music festivals, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest names in the music are finally saying no to single-use plastic. 

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UK festivals taking a stand against single-use plastic 


This month, the Fluid Book Club has been sharing some amazing LGBTQIA+ literary content. From booklists to quizzes, they’ve been celebrating this magical month the best way they know how: with books!

Glastonbury are determined to turn the tide on single-use plastic use at festivals, having always had sustainability at the heart of everything they do. 

They’ve recently been in the news for their controversial ban on single-use vapes

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It’s estimated that 1.3 million vapes are disposed of every week (that’s enough to cover 22 football pitches!), plus they’re hazardous at waste centres as they contain a lithium battery.  

Because of this, Glastonbury is taking a stand against them. 

But that’s not all, they’re also banning gazebos and non-biodegradable body glitter, disposable wipes due to their microplastic environmental risk AND single-use plastic bottles have been banned since 2019. 

Festivalgoers are being urged to use “as little single-use plastic as possible” with Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis stating that it’s “paramount for our planet” to reduce our plastic consumption

And so far, Glastonbury has managed to save over 1 million single-use plastic bottles from being used!

Glastonbury really is taking steps to be better and do better for the planet. It’s entirely run by renewable energy, 99% of their tents are taken home, and to top it all off, they also have their very own recycling facility on-site to minimise the amount of waste going to landfills.

Go, Glastonbury, go! 


Reading & Leeds Festival, Latitude & Download 

All Live Nation venues, clubs and concert halls are aiming to be zero-waste by 2030. Just think about the difference that would make! 

They’re big on reusable cups. Having invested in the TURN system (which includes reusable cups, collection bins, and mobile washing systems) Live Nation can now offer reusable cups at every single one of their events - with each cup having the potential to replace 100 single-use plastic cups

"By investing in TURN, Live Nation is able to make events at our venues and festivals more sustainable. By rolling out real-world solutions at scale we hope this helps the whole industry find solutions.” 
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. 


Specifically, Download Festival, Live Nation’s biggest UK event, has promised that every one of their festivals from 2022 will be single-use plastic free

With attendees being encouraged to purchase reusable Download branded cups, they also offer campers the opportunity to stay in their Greenpeace Eco-camp

This is a camp where recycling is second nature and campers respect the environment.
It’s the camping experience of the future

Attendees have to sign up to recycle all their waste, take all their camping equipment home with them, as well as take responsibility for their actions. 

Live Nation is ready to say NO to single-use plastics.


The most eco-friendly festival ever: Oya Festival

Even with UK festivals taking a stand against single-use plastics and making sustainable changes where they can, they’re still far from being referred to as the “world’s greenest music festival ever” aka Oya Festival in Norway. 

It’s the pioneer in eco-awareness when it comes to music festivals: 

  • 75% of its waste is recycled 
  • ALL food and drink are in plastic-free packaging that is 100% compostable
  • 95% of food is organic 
  • Every beverage is served in reusable cups
  • 60% of rubbish is reused for new products
  • 98% of visitors travel using public transport

No wonder they’ve written the handbook on eco-festivals and have won several awards including Europe’s Greenest Festival award. 

There’s A LOT the UK festival scene can learn from Norway’s Oya Festival - and luckily, we’re 100% taking steps in the right direction. 


How you can make changes this festival season? 

When it comes to supporting the ban on single-use plastics at festivals, there’s a lot your brand can do to stand firm and support these awesome green initiatives. 

The biggest change you can make though: opting for more sustainable product media for your summer festival campaigns.

Why not gift each member of your team an individually named water bottle? That way they don’t have to rely on single-use plastic bottles. We love Ocean Bottle’s mission to stop 7 billion plastic bottles from ending up in the ocean by 2025. And with every bottle purchased funding the collection of 1,000 bottles, just think of the difference your brand could make!

Read more: Gear up this festival season: don't forget these 12 merchandise favourites! (1)-2

But it’s not only by opting for branded bottles that you can make a difference. Why not go for some reusable cutlery? Perfect for those festival campsites. Or, one of the best ways to get your brand out there at festivals is with reusable pint cups. And how are you planning on packing everything? Check out our Impact-aware hiking backpacks that save 6.6 litres of water and reuse 11 0.5L PET bottles per bag (plus, 2% of the proceeds of each bag sold will be donated to

Read more: 14 must-have festival camping essentials

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Aside from making more sustainable merchandise choices though, your brand can also educate internally and externally about why making more sustainable choices is so important. You can recycle more, compost more, and fundraise more. You can ensure your team know to take ownership of their rubbish (if you create it, take it) and help your brand stand for making an environmental difference for the better. 


Are you ready to change the world?

What’re you waiting for? These big festival brands are taking steps to change the world and reduce their plastic footprint, isn’t it time your brand did too?

By choosing more sustainable, eco-friendly promotional merchandise, you’re showing your clients and audiences alike that you are READY to take a stand against single-use plastics and that your brand is READY to put its name on something green. 

There’s nothing more rock’n’roll than caring for the environment! 

Are you ready to make some changes? Download your FREE copy of our Festivals & Events brochure now for all the very best in festival merch. Or, chat with one of our Merchandise Consultants now to discuss all things eco. 

Your brochure is ready to download!