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Reading Festival goes green

August 8, 2007 at 10:47 am

The last thing on people’s minds when attending a music festival is their waste. However, the annual UK music extravaganza that is Reading Festival is planning on bucking the trend by helping out the environment this year. ‘Green’ is very much on the agenda, with organisers Mean Fiddler putting together a sensible and thorough strategy plan to help its visitors do their bit for the environment. Here are some of the plans:

  • A green bag will be issued on arrival for empty bottles, a clear one for cans and a black one for all other rubbish. The reward for the returning of a filled up bag will be a beer.
  • A returned plastic beer cup will mean a 10p reward.
  • Recycle bins will be located all over the site for all materials.
  • Returned gas canisters and aerosols could win lucky people tickets to the festivals in 2008 if their raffle ticket wins.
  • Charity Global Hand will ask for any unwanted tents, sleeping bags or sleeping mats after the weekend for the homeless.
  • The Lift Share website, which encouarages people to find others to travel with to reduce the traffic pollution, is helping to provide transport to the festival.
  • Coaches are to be put on especially for the festival from National Express.
  • Eco-friendly shower gel will be distributed free of charge, which is less harmful to the land after its use. There are free showers onsite too.
  • Eco-friendly recycled toilet paper will also be handed out free.

Many other tips for helping the environment whilst at Reading are on their website but the question is, how green can a festival ever really be? A specially designed ‘green only’ festival was put on in Scotland, near Aviemore, in June 2007, where there were similar ideas like car sharing, free trade, and organic food in biodegradable packaging, but it failed to make many headlines for its initiatives. Moreover, both Latitude Festival in Suffolk and T in the Park in Scotland took a simlarly green approach this year. The latter claimed to be carbon neutral and its carbon footprint was offset to forestry in Scotland and Southern and Central America.There are currently over a 150 music festivals each year in the UK and, in 2003, a website called Virtualfestivals.com was launched to grade them all. The most ‘green’ of all was the Sunrise Summer Solstice Celebration held at the end of May each year near Yeovil. It won the Shelter Award for Most Socially Responsible Festival in the UK and plans to be totally carbon neutral by 2008. According to its website, in 2007 the entire festival was run on renewable energy such as biodiesel, solar, wind and pedal power. It is leading the way in recycling programs, uses compost toilets, all organic food, and it is planting trees to offset the carbon. Although this may sound extreme now, with major festivals like Reading making similarly bold moves, this may well be the future.

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