Eco Packing for a festival

Every blogger that does festivals has blogged about what to take. I've done it myself because it's a thing that newbies, festival virgins, the uninitiated, always ask. But the more I think about the planet, the irony of banning plastic straws but taking wet wipes in your festival kit, the more I thought I needed to 'eco up' my game.

Now festival going is never going to be all holy. You'll have to buy stuff, and travel(I'm trying the coach to Boomtown this year!). But here are some ideas to make it a little more environmentally conscious, a little more eco friendly, a tiny bit better for the planet we not only profess to love, but actually live on.

You'll need a tent, try not to buy cheap to bin later. It's tempting, you might even kid yourself that 'the homeless' will use it or it will be recycled into clothes. In reality very few tents that are binned are reused, most end up in landfill. If you don't want to buy a tent to reuse year after year, consider borrowing a tent from a mate, hiring one from the festival, or buying a cardboard one you can recycle. And don't be scared to buy on eBay - my 3 favourite tents were all second hand from eBay!

Bottles for water (and anything else). Festival sites rarely allow glass onsite for obvious safety reasons and because many sites are farms when they are not full of us lot partying. But that doesn't mean you need to bring plastic...or buy plastic. Try bringing a metal bottle, there are lots available now with insulated walls, so you water keeps nice and cool in the sun. Buy cans of pop (and alcohol) as metal is almost endlessly recyclable. And there are now companies that have eco friendly water cartons too!

Wet wipes? I've been a slave to them for years, perfect for the morning freshen up and useful throughout the day. But really why? Why not pack a flannel cloth each and just use a bucket of water back at the tent. Cool and fresh you can still have  arub down, rinse your flannel and peg it up to dry, or carry it with you to moisten at a festival tap for a 'back of the neck' cool down after a sweaty dance off with Mr Motivator.

Food. Just try to use smaller packaging, tins are great, dried food is good but can be a pain to keep dry unless it's in plastic.

Ponchos. I do still pack a rain poncho or two. But it was starting to make me feel guilty - let's be honest, it often rains at a UK festival, we all grab a flimsy single use poncho, we all bin it after a day. So I was delighted to find these! Cornstarch biodegradable festival ponchos! No excuse now! Feel dry AND eco smug.

Plates and cups and .... If you must take disposables (and many do because who has time to wash up! Especially if you have a large family group) go for paper and card. (and wooden knives and forks)  And try to ensure they go into the correct bins for recycling. If you have space to bring them to the festival, you should have space to take them home. If you can't find the correct bin on site- pack up and take home.

Glitter. Glitter is just sparkly micro-plastic. So make sure you take a responsibly made biodegradable eco glitter. You may be able to have glitter applied at the festival, always check they are using eco glitter - the more people that ask, the more likely it will become the norm.

For other toiletry ideas avoiding plastic (did you know toothpaste tubes can't be recycled?) check out this blog post with links to sun screen in tins and shampoo bars.

Bags. Some festivals provide rubbish bags, some don't. Pack a roll of eco friendly bin bags, you can use them just the same as regular plastic bags (to protect your clothes in the rain for example) but feel happier knowing your biodegradable plates are in a biodegradable bag for the bin.

 Fashion. Slow fashion is a new buzz for  some, reusing items you bought years ago, keeping a set of 'funky' clothes just for festivals, buying second hand, pre-loved clothes from charity and thrift shops, and of course at the festival itself. Try to keep the 'new' clothes that you just must have, to a minimum, and like the tent, plan to reuse them.

There is nothing wrong with plastic, if it's got a proper long term function. It's light and can be really useful as buckets, wellies, air beds, umbrellas, and coats. But if there is the option to use something more eco friendly, go for it! And if you buy plastic, keep using it.

The very last thing on my eco list is not a packing item at all...unless you count packing up to go home. Don't leave your trash. Don't throw your beer cup on the ground (not even if it is biodegradable), don't leave your discarded balloons and nitrous oxide canisters laying about, don't leave your tent (even if it broke) . Clear up, bag it, bin it.

I dream of a day the festival site looks as clean at the end of the festival as it did at the start.

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