Zero waste festival guide

Zero waste festival guide

15th July 2019

This guide is for my fellow festival goers who love having fun and seeing their favorite bands with their favourite people, but aren’t so keen on the waste that often comes with it.

Fortunately there are lots of things we can do to be a little more conscious, reducing our waste and environmental impact whilst still having a great time. Here you’ll find the simple swaps that I tired out at this years Glastonbury Festival, that I’ll definitely be sticking with next time.

Food and drink

Bring a water bottle and cup – it’s really important to keep well hydrated at festivals, especially when the sun’s out and alcohol is involved! Bring a bottle with you to fill up regularly at water points, and a cup for your pints (or smoothies).

I find stainless steel to be the best as you don’t have to worry about it breaking or cracking, and it’s nice and light for carrying around. Once you have these two items you can use them for years and years!

Pack a food container and cutlery – I know it feels awkward asking food traders to put your order in your own container (I still feel a little embarrassed doing this) but just like anything else, the more you do it the easier it gets, and the more the traders will get used to it too.If you’re buying all of your meals at the festival this really will save a lot of waste.

A side note: you don’t need to buy an expensive stainless steel container and bamboo cutlery as Instagram may make you think (but if you want to, that’s totally fine too!), your old tupperware and fork from home will do just wonderfully.

Take your own snacks – bringing my own breakfast (homemade zero waste muesli and a carton of Oatly) along with some snacks allowed me to make sure that at least some of my food whilst at the festival was made with minimal waste. This also helps to keep costs down, which is always a bonus.

Excellent seitan burger from Half Man! Half Burger! without the disposable container

Fresh kale, spinach and peach smoothie reviving me on day 3


Use what you already have –  back in the day I would go out and buy lots of “minis” to save on packing space and weight – I’m talking mini deodorants, suncream, toothpaste etc all in plastic bottles and tubes. 

Where my beauty routine is now very minimal and zero waste, I just bought what I usually use at home, decanting into smaller pots where I could (like argan oil which I use for a moisturiser into an old Rescue Remedy bottle). 

One swap that I did love however was these toothpaste tabs which I bought from BYO which clean so well, I think I’ll continue using them everyday. They’re also really great as you can take the exact amount that you need with you to a festival. 

If you haven’t already swapped your bathroom essentials for plastic free / zero waste alternatives then I highly recommend checking out the “Bathroom” page on the Greener Habits Co website. 

My zero waste festival toiletry essentials

Make your own dry shampoo – I was away at Glastonbury festival for 5 nights which definitely meant that I needed some kind of dry shampoo (I get very oily roots) and found that this recipe works surprisingly well – I love my hair smelling like chocolate! You can also make as little or as much as you need.

Ingredients: equal parts bentonite clay, arrowroot powder or cornstarch and cocoa powder (skip the last one if you have light coloured hair).

Directions: add all to a little pot and shake together. To use, pour a little into your hand and work into the roots of your hair, as you would with any other dry shampoo. 

I should say that this year’s festival was especially hot and sticking. The length of my hair got a little too gross (thanks suncream!) so I did give myself a hair wash using a Lush shampoo bar and my bottle of water, in an attempt to look like I hadn’t gone a month without washing…

Ditch wet wipes – wet wipes are a bit of a problem for the environment but luckily there are more and more biodegradable options on the market, like these vegan bamboo wipes from The Cheeky Panda.

I wanted to try going one further this year and used reusable bamboo cloths instead of disposable, wetting them with a little water from an old spray bottle and having a scrub with a bar of soap. This worked really well BUT for some reason I thought one wipe a day would be enough. That definitely wasn’t the case, especially with all the suncream. So I ended up filling my bowl with water like a little sink, washing with soap and drying off with the cloth most days.

Plastic-free periodsit’s absolutely possible (and easy) to do plastic-free periods whilst at a festival. I’m a big fan of the moon cup and take my bottle of water and soap into the toilet with me to clean it – it’s no biggie! But if you want something that feels a little less “hands on” then period pants are great, and there are lots of organic and plastic free tampons out there too, like these from TOTM.


What’s in your wardrobe? – we know that fast fashion is a big problem for the planet. In the UK alone this summer we’re expected to spend £2.7 billion on 50 million outfits that will just be worn once. “Festival fashion” has become a real thing in recent years but instead looking to buy new items of clothing, put together different looks from what you already have or just wear the same outfit again (and again and again), there really is no shame in it!

Buy second hand – if you feel like you need some new clothes for whatever reason, charity shops and websites like Deepop and Ebay are you best friends. Not only do you get a new outfit, but you save that piece of clothing from ending up in landfill.

It can also be fun swapping clothes with friends once they’ve got their use out of particular outfits. I wore a red floral dress at Glastonbury this year, one that my bestie wore there previous years (and both have worn many other times).

Second hand dress handed down from my sweet friend Claire

Leave no trace

Be a responsible festival goer – one of my favourite things about Glastonbury Festival is their environmental outlook and “love the farm, leave no trace” motto. This means to dispose of anything single-use properly whilst at the festival, and take everything else back home with you, not leaving it for someone else to deal with.

Have fun

Most of all just do your best, try things out and enjoy yourself! Reducing your festival waste doesn’t have to get in the way of having a good time – absolutely not. My biggest tip here is to get your friends / partner / family onboard and keep each other inspired and motivated!

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