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3 Tips for Planning Sustainable Festivals

sustainable festivals

Sustainable festivals. It’s a common misconception that festivals are a sustainable approach by default. Time to face the myth.

They are not as sustainable as we think. And attendees are noticing.

While a festival-style event promises spectacle, there is a big concern for the environment among the most common festival-goers, millennials.

We can do better, and here is how.

Manage waste

Oh, waste management. Something sorely overlooked in many scenarios.

It’s important to note that at events, especially festival-style events, attendees need easy ways of disposing their waste. And options that are easily spotted as well. They are caught up in the moment, hold onto the ear of the latest speaker or artist and oops, their goes the container that was holding their food onto the ground.

It’s a disappointing image. But it’s reality.

But what can we do to help guide their eye to the appropriate bin instead?

Brightly coloured, large and legibly labeled recycling facilities placed in more then one spot.

Choose sustainable festival food options

Festival-goers are demanding more sustainable food options. This means organic and locally produced food.

Be conscious of where the food you (or your vendors) are providing is coming from. Research your local vendors, plan our your options and strategise your menu.

Strive for a plastic-free experience

Three words. Plastic is bad. And it’s best avoided as much as possible. It takes up to 1000 years to decompose, and it’s harming our environment, our oceans and our wildlife.

There is just too much of the stuff everywhere we look.

This is why event planners are moving away from plastic. Aiming for a close to plastic-free experience as possible. It’s hard work and can be costly, but it moves us a great step closer to sustainable festivals.

Go for compostable and environmentally friendly disposable containers to serve food in. Better yet, ban plastic straws, cups and utensils completely. Provide cups made of steel to attendees. You can include neat brand designs on them to keep as memorabilia. And ask festival-goers to pay a small fee for keeping the cup. It’s a win-win scenario.

Lastly, have a strategic plan in place, align all stakeholders on the green approach and know what you can afford. Financial sustainability is just as important as sustainable festivals. Going green can up the price a fair bit. Be smart and follow through with your plan from start to finish.

Interested in discovering more sustainable options? MCI can help you achieve your goals. Visit our website to see what we can do for you and contact Mélanie DelaplancheMCI’s Sustainability Services Director, at

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