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5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Festival Experience This Summer

Photo: Paradiso Festival website

Every year, festivals generate tons of waste, both inside and outside the grounds. This waste is especially harmful at outdoor festivals, such as Paradiso and Shambhala. Here’s a few steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact this festival season.

1. Use eco-friendly, biodegradable glitter

Glitter is a major ocean pollutant. After it runs down your shower drain it washes out to sea. Since glitter is a microplastic, it can kill fish and other sea life that swallow the small particles. The good news is, you don’t have to give up being the sparkling festival queen you are. Cosmetic companies everywhere are starting to sell biodegradable glitter that’s still safe for skin. Swapping out your current glitter for something more environmentally friendly is one small change you can make to reduce your impact.

2. Search buy-sell-trade groups for festival gear

If you’re looking to change up your festival wear, an easy way to both save money and reduce your waste is to buy secondhand rave gear. There are a ton of rave-specific groups on Facebook for people who are looking to sell or trade their old gear. Though you won’t have quite the same selection you’d have from online retailers, this is a great way to recycle clothing and reduce packaging waste. It’s a bonus if it’s a local group within driving distance, with no shipping required! You might also save a few bucks on that new bodysuit or spirithood in the process.

3. Buy gallon water jugs or reusable bottles instead of plastic water bottles

At summer camping festivals you can’t go without water, but individual water bottles create a huge amount of waste. Instead, consider buying gallon jugs of water bottles. If you don’t have space in the cooler to fit the entire jug, bring along some thermally insulated water bottles and throw some ice cubs in, so you’ll still have cold water at your campsite. Inside the venue, a hydration pack and water fill-up stations will keep you hydrated. If you have to bring plastic water bottles, at least make sure to recycle them. Many festivals are adopting recycling and composting standards, so there’s no reason why we can’t do our part!

4. Pack it in, pack it out

Following the waste rules that you would use on a hiking trail is another easy way to keep the impact of festivals low. The aftermath of Paradiso is fairly low in comparison to other festivals at the Gorge, but campers still leave waste behind every year, sometimes including entire tents. Make sure that everything you bring in to the camp grounds leaves with you. An additional step could be taking your recyclables home with you instead of mixing them with the trash over the weekend. It would certainly be more work and occupy more space in your vehicle, but makes a small and positive impact on the environment.

5. Say “no” to free swag

No matter what festival you’re at, there are probably vendors who will hand you some free “swag” for their brand. As tempting as that free pair of sunglasses may be, saying “no” will keep those sunglasses out of a landfill for at least a little bit longer. Chances are, you won’t use many of the items you receive outside of the festival. As small as this step may seem, it can make a huge impact in the long run.

How do you reduce your environmental impact? What are some other good tips that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!

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