Green Man and The Sustainable Festival

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Plastic cups, tissues, bottles, cans and tents leftover. How do we make having fun cleaner?


Sustainability, the “ability of people to co-exist on Earth over a long time”, has been growing in popularity alongside the rise in climate change worries. There are such small aspects of life that have now become marketed as being sustainable, from clothes, to milk, to carrier bags and crisps, but they all need the extra push through behaviour.

Distancing ourselves from the responsibility of big corporations – 100 responsible for 71% of emissions – there are small habits that we can take in our day to day life to be better for the planet. There is taking shorter showers, and using metal straws, or consuming less meat to combat the high levels of methane gas.

Are festivals sustainable?

When going to a festival, both the participant and the organiser have a responsibility to reduce waste and the impact on the land. This is baring in mind just how big some festivals are: Glastonbury measures around a mile and a half across, while Primavera in Barcelona occupies 20,000 square metres.

Creative Carbon Scotland reports that in the UK, festival-goers “create the equivalent of over 2.7kg of waste per person per day” and the impact can be reduced.

As a festival-goer, the responsibilities are similar to that of a hiker – leave no trace, or as close as you can get to that. Tents get taken home, bin-bags get packed with leftover cans and cereal bar wrappers, cigarette ends get collected into any single-use container etc.

However, around 250,000 tents are allegedly left at music festivals in the UK, with the average tent making up “the equivalent in plastic as 250 pint cups” according to the The Association of Independent Festivals.

Being green at Green Man

Festivals are making steps towards reducing their impact. Green Man (aptly named) mentions on their “Being Green” page a few of their measures. The bars have never used plastic straws, and have moved to stackable reusable plastic cups that the participants can take home after. There is a push on local breweries and fair-trade food, and all the power comes from hydrogen, solar or HVO which is a fossil-free alternative to diesel. Regarding tents, they have paired up with Help Refugees and Newport to Calais Aid Collective to collect fit-for-function camping gear that can be donated to refugees.

Other festivals are making steps too with compost-loos and re-usable plastics, paper straws and recycling points, as well as offering public transport options from major cities in the UK.

Related Information

Green Man Festival is located in the Bannau Brycheiniog and takes place between 17-20th August.

For more information on sustainability, visit the Sprout’s ‘The Future Is In Our Hands’ campaign.

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