Trying to be Plastic Free at Kelburn


Trying to be plastic free at a festival was an interesting experience. I definitely think I went to one of the easier ones to achieve this at. Kelburn Garden Party is small and run on a working estate so they are keen to avoid rubbish and general environmental damage. They also have an environmental deposit system, when you get your wristband they also ask you for a Β£5 deposit per person. If you bring a bag of rubbish and your fully packed up tent back to the box office before it closes on the Monday you get your money back. That seems like a sensible idea to me. However, since we were staying in the van and Mr IHR was there until the Tuesday I knew that was a fiver I would never see again.

For us the plastic free planning started with our food and drink shopping. In the main we avoided single use plastic although a certain someone snuck in some crisps and took a couple of large plastic bottles of ginger beer! I opted for cans of tonic for my gin along with a nice glass bottle of lemonade from Fever Tree which was delicious. I also chose cans of cider as my other drinking option, which I would have done anyway to be fair, but did make a bad choice with the flavour – it was too sweet even for me and that is definitely saying something! The cans of tonic actually made it really easy to mix drinks into the reusable drink bottles and cups we had, perfect for wandering around the campsites seeing friends, so I would definitely take those again.

In terms of actually in the festival I was disappointed to be given a plastic bottle of water when I asked for water, I even made sure to say – “no can I have some tap water please” but was told we couldn’t drink the water. This confused me as I was sure I had been drinking the water last year, sure enough I found the tap later on but at least I used the water bottle numerous times. On a happier note all the plastic cups for drinks sold in the festival were actually made from plants and are fully compostable! How great is that? I would still like if I could just take a reusable cup but at least it is a good step for a festival to take. I also made sure to take my bamboo reusable cup for my tea and coffee in the morning as I didn’t feel like firing up the camp stove in the rain. I did end up getting biscuits with my tea once hence the two wrappers and I also ended up with the one non-plant based plastic cup which I actually have no idea where it came from!

There was still the sad sight of broken and discarded tents and lots of rubbish in the big bins provided at the general camping site (I was in the crew camping site – I know, I know get me) when my mates and I left but it comparison to pictures from other festivals there weren’t many. I also like to think that fewer tents would have been left if the weather on Friday night hadn’t been so horrendous.

So the unsurprising secret to a plastic-light festival? It really is all the preparation and organisation, which is something I am not very good at in my day to day food planning! Also attending a festival where there is an emphasis on nature in general definitely helps – I don’t think I saw one piece of litter in the glen the whole time we were wandering around.


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