Emily Eavis hopes for a greener Glastonbury festival

By Kirsty Grant and Christian Hewgill
Newsbeat reporters

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Image caption,
People are being encouraged to pick up their rubbish and take their tents home

Anyone who's seen the aftermath of festivals will know that it can end up looking more like a rubbish tip than a celebration of music.

About 23,500 tonnes of waste are produced each year at UK music festivals, according to Powerful Thinking - a group which looks at the festival industry. Roughly two thirds of that goes into landfill.

But Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis hopes measures the team there has taken will inspire fans to be greener at this year's event.

"Sustainability and the need to live in harmony with the land, has always been vital to Glastonbury Festival," Emily told the Press Association.

Single-use plastic bottles have been banned on site, anyone going to the festival has been asked to asked to leave non-essentials at home and non-compostable plates, cups, straws aren't allowed either.

So for anyone off to Worthy Farm this is how it's hoping to be that bit greener and Radio 1 Newsbeat's been getting expert advice from ethical lifestyle blogger Besma Whayeb.

Food and drink

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Image caption,
We've heard of a yard of ale... but a foot of cider?

This is the big one for Glastonbury. It won't sell single-use plastic water bottles this year. 40 tonnes of plastic bottles were recycled there in 2017.

Live Nation, which run events like Reading and Leeds and Wireless, says it will get rid of single-use plastics by 2021.

"We're always thinking about how we can make Glastonbury more sustainable but the most dramatic change for this year is that we have banned the sale of single-use plastic drinks bottles on the festival site," Emily said.

"Single-use plastic is a huge threat to our planet. It pollutes our environment and its unnecessary manufacture consumes too many of our natural resources and contributes massively to climate change."

But getting round it is simple according to Besma: "A lot of festivals now are keen on putting taps everywhere (Glastonbury included) but they might not have bottles for you to fill, so you might end up going to someone who's selling a single use plastic bottle instead."

Besma says bring a reusable one and also think about taking reusable cutlery, given non-recyclable utensils, plates, cups, straws and even sauce sachets have all been banned at Glastonbury.

Re-use your raincoats

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But plastic isn't just a festival foe when it come to bottles.

After-all if you're going to a British gig, you'll be lucky to avoid a smattering of rain. Besma says she always brings a mac with her rather than single use plastic ponchos.

"If you do take a plastic poncho, afterwards pack it up and keep it in your bag so if it rains throughout the rest of the festival you can shove it back on. You can also sit on them, which is useful, if it gets muddy," she says.

It's all part the push to reduce single use plastic.

"The best way to avoid plastic pollution and the wasting of resources that go into making it, is simply to reduce plastic use," according to Emily Eavis.


Image source, Getty Images

With thousands of people making their way across the country, transport can have a huge impact on CO2 emissions.

Those heading to Glastonbury are being urged to use public transport and Besma says coaches are often organised by the festival companies. There are loads of options for Glasto, plus it saves you some petrol money and helps the planet.

"They're super easy and drive you right up to the site. People usually come in twos or threes - on a coach you can have 50 or 60 people. That's saving on probably 20 cars worth of carbon emissions.

"Also, coaches mean you get to meet people beforehand. You can start that festival vibe a couple of hours earlier."

Washing (or not washing)

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Image caption,
These people really, really care about the environment

Some events are lucky enough to have showers, but people who have camped at a lot of festivals will know the "wet wipe wash" all too well.

Sadly, you guessed it, most wet wipes are not biodegradable.

Organisers at Worthy Farm want you to bring a wash cloth and bar of soap for a strip wash, rather than use the former festival staple, the wet wipe.

But Besma's advice is simpler and smellier.

"People worry too much about washing, people know you're at a festival and it's hot. Just enjoy it."


Image source, Getty Images

Emily Eavis says your Glastonbury tent can last a lifetime, rather than being binned after just one weekend.

"It's awful to imagine any tent could be branded as single-use, especially as so many precious resources are used to make it," she said.

"We would love everyone to come to the festival with a sturdy, fit-for-purpose tent that they will take home with them again and reuse over a lifetime of camping experiences

There can be misconceptions about leaving tents at festivals. Some think they'll be given to charity, but often that's not the case.

Besma agrees with Emily and says you shouldn't buy a new tent each year.

"Speak to somebody in your family and see if they've got a tent you can borrow. If you're a keen festival goer, having a tent you can rely on every year is much better than having to go out and buy one each year."

The surprising stuff

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More than 60 tonnes of paper and card, 32 tonnes of glass and 45 tonnes of cans were recycled from Glastobury 2017.

But you know that stuff's bad for the planet. But you might not realise that even humble festival glitter can be a problem.

Usually, it's not biodegradable, but some companies are changing their products. Besma tells Newsbeat: "Just search for eco-glitters, once you've worn it you can wash it off and it will degrade away."

Emily says lots of people making small changes can achieve a lot.

"We want to show everyone just what can be done if we all shift our mindset - we can change our behaviour and make a huge leap to going plastic-free."

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