We all love to come together and celebrate life at festivals and other large-scale events. There’s something magical and healing when we practice creating temporary small cities in the beauty of nature, learning from each other and growing together. What is the cost to our beautiful nature though, when we all come together to dance, eat, drink, play, and learn on her grounds?
Festivals definitely impact the land they are on as well as the earth in general. One of the biggest culprits is the carbon footprint of all the people traveling to get to the event. Then you pile on all the trash, and energy consumption and you’ve got a big ecological cocktail of negative impact.
How can we do better?
Here’s a list of 9 ways to green your festival or large scale event:
- Have a carpooling system in place to require or heavily incentivize carpooling. This can include charging separate car pass fees, requiring a certain amount of people per vehicle, having an online carpooling connection forum or Facebook group, and premium parking for carpooling. Let festival goers know what is expected of them and have it impact their pocketbooks.
- Have attendees bring their own eating supplies like plates, bowls, utensils, cups, thermos, etc. Have vendors only offer food and drink in people’s reusable containers, or the vendors can have multi-use items that they sell to the attendees for an extra fee beyond the cost of the meal or drink. Set up dishwashing stations with the three tub system of rinse water, soapy water tub, and final rinse. You can set this up so that attendees can do it themselves or you can have your own dish team that’s on dish duty. Some festivals even provide the food and drinks as part of the entrance fee and have their own reusable plates, kitchen staff and dish teams. Ban all plastic straw use by attendees and vendors.
- Provide free water filling stations and have attendees bring their own bottles. Don’t even sell bottles of water, just have the water stations. Attendees will be encouraged to keep up with their own bottle. In case of people losing their bottles, you could have a nice metal bottle that you sell with your event’s branding on it.
- Compost and Recycle. It’s imperative to have recycle and compost stations along with your trash. Have a team that takes care of all of it. When they collect trash and recycle, have them sort in case of people putting things in the wrong bins. This will greatly reduce the amount that ends up in the landfill. With the compost bin, you can create a wonderful life-sustaining compost for the land of the event, or you can transport it to another garden space.
- Use alternative power sources. Solar panels and biodiesel for generators are two great ways to create power outside of the normal power grid.
- Use lower energy lighting. You can use solar lighting, such as along pathways and other simple lighting places outside. You can use LED stage lighting and compact fluorescent lighting in other places.
- Educate attendees before and during the event. A little education goes a long way. Have your attendees read and check off that they’ve read the environmental considerations before coming. Explain all these above methods that the event will be using to make it more green and very clearly outline what will be expected of the attendees. Consider things like asking them to not bring or use glitter or feather boas, etc. Also, have workshops at your event on sustainability and ecological topics, that way your event is actually educating attendees on green issues.
- Last but definitely not least, recycle your poop! Close the loop and keep human waste out of our waterways! We at Ecozoic Resources have gone to various festivals and brought our incredible biofilter toilets to help turn waste into a resource. With out toilets, the human waste of the attendees gets reduced by 90%, never needs to be pumped during the event, smells nice, and at the end, the waste has been processed into a liquid fertilizer and can be spread onto the ground. In contrast, normal portapotties stink, have to be pumped multiple times per day, and the waste is full of chemicals like embalming fluid and then has to get transported to a wastewater treatment plant, ending up in our waterways. There is a better way!