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Glastonbury Goes Greener

The self-proclaimed ‘’largest green-field music and performing arts festival in the world" has hit the headlines this festival season after introducing an on-site ban of single use plastic bottles in an attempt to combat previous years of scrutiny from eco-warriors.

Three years ago, festival organisers were accused of irresponsibly disposing of toilet waste after nearby rivers were found polluted and riddled with deceased wildlife. This scrutiny continued into the festival of 2017 following an investigation into the amount of waste left behind by campers. More than 60 tonnes of paper and card, 32 tonnes of glass, 40 tonnes of plastic bottles and 45 tonnes of cans were recycled after the festival. That same year, a staggering 132 tonnes of food waste was composted. This amount of rubbish equates to half a million bin bags and more than one thousand tons of recycling left on the site.

This year Glastonbury banned the use of single-use plastic drink bottles across the festival site, including al VIP tents, in order to combat this on-going waste issue and to raise awareness of the damaging effects of littering. Official policy states that "All food service disposables/serve ware – including straws and hot drink lids – must be made from paper, card, wood or leaves and be fully compostable." As all of these materials are biodegradable, the waste can easily be separated and recycled onsite with the assistance of more than 1,300 volunteers.

Glastonbury 2019 was home to over 850 water taps and dozens of water kiosks across the site to cater for the 200,000 people attending the summer event. Whilst many appeared to embrace this new addition, many criticised the long waiting times and chaotic ques to use the facilities.

As well as limiting the amount of single use plastic on site, Glastonbury organisers also asked celebrity acts to donate items of their own clothing to Oxfam in an attempt to challenge our society’s blasé attitude towards ‘’throw-away’’ fashion. Oxfam states that every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill. Some of these synthetic garments such as Lycra can take hundreds of years to completely decompose, leaving behind a multitude of greenhouse gasses during the process.

This year’s eco focus has had an obvious effect on festival goers’ attitudes as a staggering 99.3% of tents were taken home at the end of the event, which is a vast improvement on all previous years. Much like the Green Motion Green Heart initiative, Glastonbury have also vowed to combat any negative environmental effects they may have caused by planting over 10,000 trees in the local area since 2000. Another eco initiative introduced by Glastonbury was the intense advertisement of public transport and car-pooling to reach the event. Event founder, Michael Eavis claims that he is continuously looking for new ideas to better the festival’s environmental impact including on-going discussions regarding a better way to power the event. He states, ‘’For me, one of the greatest benefits of Glastonbury Festival has been giving people the chance to open their eyes to something better, even if it is only for one weekend in the year’’.

If you fancy being amongst the 200,000 people flocking to the site next year, then be sure to match the event’s eco-ethos by hiring a car from Green Motion Bristol, located just under an hour away from the main site! If you’re flying in from other countries, Green Motion have locations at most of the main airports located around the United Kingdom!