Festivals: How to Leave No Trace

I'm not a big festival goer. Personally, I prefer the small local festivals where it's a smaller community with local food and local bands. The Tandem Festival was just this. 

Being zero waste at a festival is slightly more challenging than camping alone as you need to take into account food, drink and clothes. Like most zero waste solutions: it's all in the planning... 



  • Lunch box

  • Spoon, fork and knife

  • Handkerchief

  • Drawstring bag

  • Sleeping bag

  • Pillow

  • Tent

  • Snacks e.g flapjack

  • Food (see below for more)

  • Water bottle (preferable double-lined metal)

  • Cup (metal if possible)

  • Soap

  • Zero waste toilet paper

  • Clothes (with lots of layers)

  • Hairbrush

  • Make up remover cloth

  • Condoms


Out of everything on the essentials list, the lunch box was easily my favourite item as most mornings I love a big bowl of porridge! It gets me going for the day. Luckily at this festival they had food trucks, one of which sold a lovely big bowl of porridge. They were selling them in either plastics tubs (yucky!) or cardboard tubs for a bigger option. With my handy lunch box I could just ask them to put the porridge in it and wash it out after. Bob's your uncle! 

Making zero waste snacks can be a lifesaver too, as it stops 'hangryness'. For this festival I made flapjacks and brought nuts, as well as dried and fresh fruit with me. It's often a struggle to bring zero waste snacks that last the whole four days, but flapjacks can do just that – plus they're a great, slow-releasing energy booster. 

Because I was travelling to the festival by train, being light-weight was essential. Carrying lots of zero waste essentials can weight you down, that's why I chose not to take any ready made meals with me they would take up a lot of rucksack space. This did mean I spent more money at the festival, but with a lunch box to put food in it didn't make any negative impact on the environment. 

Water bottles are great at festivals! Especially with a karabina, that way you can clip it to you the whole day and it's easily accessible. I opted for a double-lined metal bottle, as you can also have a hot drink from it in the mornings.

Having a reusable cup is also great for alcohol – it's durable, great for the environment and if you choose a metal one very it's light and easy to clean.

They even used hay bales for toilets!

They even used hay bales for toilets!

Soap is a must if you're staying for more than one night. I know lots of people at festivals often don't shower and use baby wipes, but think of what all those wasted baby wipes will be doing to our poor planet. I opted for soap as it's great to wash not only yourself but also clothes just in case! The shampoo soap from Lush washes everything, its light weight and compact; I often used my reusable bottle to shower (as the queue was so big) with the soap, meaning I didn't have a need for baby wipes. 

The Tandem Festival was great at recycling and toilet waste, but a lot of festivals struggle with this aspect. I recommend bringing at least one roll of compostable toilet paper (Who Gives a Crap) and that way at least you know your paper will degrade faster. 


Charlotte discovered this make up remover cloth which gets rid of make up without any moisturiser. It's pure genius – the fibers in the cloth are so small that they remove the make up, you just need a dab of water to wash it off. 

Finally, I know festivals are all about letting loose and going a bit wild! Me and Charlotte have yet to discover zero waste condoms but often these are a must, so for now I recommend Durex but we will keep looking for them.