4 Small Actions You Can Take To Reduce Your Festival Impact

Photo by Jacob Avanzato

4 Small Actions You Can Take To Reduce Your Festival Impact

Our festival attracts all different types of people from different backgrounds who have different interests and passions. Aside from our mutual love for a thumpin’ dance floor, it’s safe to say on the whole we enjoy spending time in nature. Sadly, the thing we love most can contribute quite significantly to our footprint. If we want to continue to frolic in the forests together, we have to have a vested interest in maintaining our planet’s health. If you’re headed to any festival this season, it’s important to try to think about what you can do to reduce that impact this creates.

1. Leave No Trace/Pack in Pack Out

“Pack in/pack out” is a simple enough concept, everything that comes with you should also leave with you. This is not only good for our planet but basic etiquette; we want these beautiful locations to have the same power to future visitors. MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) may be fun to say, but in reality it isn’t so enchanting. MOOP management requires more thought and planning to properly execute than just bringing a few trash bags. It’s important to consider how much space you’ll need to bring back your trash with you, and plan ahead to reduce the waste even before you leave.

Tips for successful Pack-out

  • Remove excess packaging before you leave. If you’ve got some fancy new gear get rid of all the excess plastic and cardboard wrapping at home. Same goes for any food that’s double packaged or anything with parts you’ll immediately throw away.
  • Food is one of the trickiest parts of this equation. Unlike your headlamp, many food items will spoil if you forget to use them. Plan your meals in advance, your perishable items spoil a lot more quickly, so try to eat those on the first night. If you’re bringing meat to cook, remove fat and bones or any parts you don’t intend to eat. Avoid bringing too much food, keep in mind if you’re camping somewhere hot you may lose some of your appetite. If you are concerned about how much food you bring, stock up on some extra food non-perishable items like dried or canned foods which won’t go bad quickly.
  • Make your trash items as compact as possible before throwing them away. This will maximize how much space you have in each bag, and reduce the number of bags you’ll need as well as take up less space in your car.
  • Bring separate bags for trash and recycling, that way you won’t have to sort them later when everything is all gross!
  • Be conscious of costume bits such as sequins, glitter, feathers and googly eyes that can fall off your costume and create MOOP.
  • Mind your butts! If you’re a smoker bring a little tin or container you can put butts into when you’re finished and empty into the trash later. In addition to helping keeping beautiful Black Oak Ranch pristine, this also helps reduce fire risk.

Photo by Nomadic Captures

A New Upgrade To An Old Idea

The Festival Guy promotes an expanded variation of Leave No Trace he calls, “Leave No Trace +1”. The idea behind this is that if the majority of festival attendees take care of all their own trash, and additionally pick up one (or more) pieces left behind by others, our venues can be even cleaner than when we arrived! Just in case it needs to be said, THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO LEAVE A MESS FOR SOMEONE ELSE! This is an encouragement to recognize that cleaning up your own trash sadly won’t go far enough.

2. End Single Use

Single use items such as plastic water bottles, paper plates, and styrofoam drinking cups are a major contributor of the waste we create. Buying a refillable metal water bottle not only will reduce your amount of waste, but it can also keep your drink cold (or warm in some cases) for much longer. Level things up with your own reusable dishes and bamboo silverware!

Photo by Robin Russell

Photo by Robin Russell

3. UpCycle

You will find all kinds of interesting trash left behind by other festival goers! What can you create from from their waste? While it can be fun to turn unwanted items into new art forms, “Up-cycling” doesn’t always have to be an upgrade. A great example of this is turning old clothes or towels into rags for cleaning, handkerchiefs, etc. You’ll both be reusing something and reducing the amount of paper waste you create.

4. Carpool

Here’s a great way to reduce the number of cars traveling to an event and make some new friends at the same time. If you’ve got some extra space in your car, we highly suggest you give carpooling a try! There are lots of people looking for rides and offering them as well, check out our ride share page through RickyRides to link up with carpoolers.

Photo by Matthew Cremer

Zac Krohn

Born and raised in the Northern Bay Area, Zac started out blogging as a founding member of West Coast based Booms and Claps. His first festival, Earthdance, planted the seeds for an ever growing passion for all the weird sounding music and open heart connections that can be discovered at these gatherings. Can often be found dancing around with a camera capturing all the excitement of festival culture.

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