How to organise and run an eco-friendly outdoor event

Eco-friendly festivals are growing in popularity, and Glastonbury is one festival well known for its environmental policies, with solar power, biomass and waste reduction campaigns.

Glastonbury isn’t on its own however. Improving CSR credentials is becoming a top priority for event organisers.  Any event, no matter what size – whether a food festival, a product launch, a trade show or conference – can reduce its impacts on the environment by making some simple changes.

Eco-friendly additions can cost more money, but equally many event managers see eco-friendly credentials as adding value to their brand. Some even claim it can allow you to charge a premium.

Either way, here are some top tips we’ve gathered for organising and running an eco-friendly outdoor event.

Implement waste reduction policies

The first thing to do is think about how you can reduce the amount of waste your event produces. Large events can create vast amounts of waste – and we can vouch for that since we return to site after events to take our structures down and we see plenty of rubbish around. Some events run public campaigns urging revellers to take their rubbish home with them. Try and extend waste reduction policies to your suppliers and contractors. Food stalls should be required to compost all their food waste for example. By mobilising your network of suppliers, contractors and attendees you can have a greater impact.

Recycling

Reducing waste brings us neatly onto recycling. Encouraging recycling is probably the easiest and cheapest way to reduce waste and improve your eco-credentials. Firstly, you’ll need a range of recycling bins and plenty of them. Clearly mark your bins with which materials they should hold – ie plastics, paper and card, aluminium and so on. Ask your suppliers and contractors to recycle their waste as well, including compostable food waste.

Switch materials

To enable a good recycling rate, ensure the materials being used on site are recyclable. There are plenty of options on the market for recyclable cups or compostable food boxes. You could add clauses in contracts requiring stall-holders to use certain recyclable materials and ban plastic cups for bars. How far you go is up to you, some event organisers have even implemented plastic cup returns at bars, giving drinkers 20p back per cup.

Green energy

Events and festivals sap a lot of energy, particularly music festivals, and it’s hard to get around this. Firstly, look at your energy usage and see if there are ways you can reduce it. For example, if you are using generators you need to ensure they’re being used to their optimal load, otherwise they are wasting energy, 80% load is about perfect, 50-80% is ok – anything lower and you are wasting a lot of energy. Secondly, consider investing in some green energy options, like solar panels or small wind turbines. Even if you only use it for a small proportion of your energy needs, it’s still a start.

Venue choice

As an event structure business, we’re used to travelling to green fields, parks, or anywhere outdoors really. This is fine, however when you choose your location, it’s worth considering how close it is to public transport links. This way you can urge your attendees to choose trains or buses rather than travel by car.

If you’d like more advice on organising and planning an outdoor event, get in touch with us at Amazing Tent Co. We’re experts in outdoor event structures for all types of events.