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Best PractiseBest Practise

8 ways to help make your festival or event more sustainable and environmentally-friendly

Luke Nightingale
14 Aug
min read

Sustainability is currently one of the biggest challenges facing the live events industry. With the threat of climate change feeling ever more prevalent, the need to adopt sustainable practices throughout our lives is more pressing than ever.

And that extends to festivals and live events. Event organisers are no doubt becoming more conscious of their own carbon footprint, but event-goers too are expecting the events they attend to do their utmost to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.

The big question now is how to achieve sustainability. This was a major topic of discussion at the recent Event Production Show, with a number of industry figures giving their take on the subject. 

Fortunately there are a number of easy changes event organisers can make to help their event be more sustainable, and when combined together, they can have a big impact. 

With that in mind, here are eight ways to help make your festival or event more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. 

Reduce waste and increase recycling

Reducing an event’s waste – either through raw reduction or recycling – is one of the biggest ways to make an event more sustainable. This can be done in a number of ways, including:

•  Choosing suppliers that are eco-conscious and who primarily use recycled materials in their products.
•  Providing lots of recycling bins across the event venue or site, with clear – but not confusing – signage on what can and can’t be recycled. 
•  Banning single-use plastic bottles on site, and for example selling stainless steel water bottles that can be refilled for free at a number of stations.
•  Encouraging attendees to pick up their rubbish or recyclable materials at the end of the event via a little-picking deposit scheme or other incentives. 

Promote green transport to and from the event

Despite putting in a lot of effort to make your festival or event as green as possible, if all your attendees travel to it by car then it can spoil all your great work. That’s why encouraging green travel is another major way to reduce the overall environmental impact of your event. This can be done by:

•  Partnering with a coach provider - like Big Green Coaches - who can offer event-goers cheap and convenient travel to and from your event from various locations. 
•  Choosing a venue within easy distance of a train station, and laying on shuttle buses if necessary.
•  Promoting car sharing as a way to meet fellow event-goers.
•  Setting up a cycle scheme, where ticket-holders drop off their luggage at a designated point to be taken to the event while they cycle there.
•  Providing good incentives to travel green, for example food vouchers or fancy camping.

Go digital

Transitioning to digital helps reduce needless waste and improves efficiency. For example, switching to mobile tickets removes the need for unnecessary printing while also reducing costs associated with postage and logistical issues. 

But going digital doesn’t only have to mean paper tickets, but can extend to things like the event’s programme and the site’s map. Instead of printing out programmes or posters to display around the site with set times, you can easily bundle these into a user-friendly app, or send them digitally to each event-goer beforehand. 

Go cashless

Installing a cashless payments system onsite – like our egPay solution – is another easy way to improve your event’s sustainability. The technology removes the need to manufacture and transport plastic tokens to be used at bars and food vendors, and it removes the need to transport cash around and off site constantly throughout the course of an event.

What’s more, our egPay solution uses a battery powered system which helps to reduce onsite energy consumption by removing more traditional mains powered ePOS systems.

Use renewable energy sources

We recommend exploring how renewable or green energy sources can help power your event. That could mean working directly with a green energy supplier or looking into carbon-offsetting, possibly as an extra fee within your ticket price. 

You could also make powering the event part of the experience, inviting event-goers to participate in activities which help run parts of the event, however small. For example, Coachella has an Energy Playground complete with Energy SeeSaws, designed to allow Coachella attendees to power their own energy sources, such as phone charging stations, while they play.

Source local

Supply chains can have a deceptively large impact on your festival or event’s carbon footprint. Although you may be using an eco-friendly supplier, if that supplier is the other side of the country, then the travel associated with getting their product to you can negate any of the positive impact. 

With that in mind, a clear and simple way to assess your supply chain is to try and source as local as possible. And if that supplier is carbon-conscious, then even better. 

Choose climate-conscious food traders and other vendors

In addition to using local suppliers, we recommend using similarly local or climate-conscious food traders or other vendors. If you don’t know the area, local community groups can be a great place to start to find local traders, while there’s no underestimating a good old fashioned Google. 

All traders should let you know where they source their products or will likely highlight any green initiatives they may be involved in. If they don’t, it’s worth asking.

Ditch portaloos and move to compost toilets

If your event is outside and away from traditional toilets, ditch the urge to hire portaloos and go with compost, long-drop-style toilets. And not only do they create no waste water, no chemicals and no raw sewage, but they also minimise smells and won’t overflow.

Here at Event Genius we’re always looking for ways to make our technology more sustainable, in particular our onsite access control and cashless payment solutions egAccess and egPay. If you’d like to hear more about either of those and how they can help power your event, please get in touch by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

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