Plastic Free Music Festivals Australia
We’ve all seen the shocking photos of mountains of plastic trash left behind at the end of music festivals, but less newsworthy are the efforts being made by festival organisers and attendees to limit their environmental impact. A clean field is not click bait!
If you’re planning your next festival foray, here are 5 simple things you can do to reduce your impact:
  1. Take a set of reusables with you

Taking your own drink bottle, coffee cup, a set of reusable cutlery and a food container will save you money as well as reduce the amount of waste left behind. It also helps reduce the demand for single use items in general. Hopefully more manufacturers will soon catch on.

  1. Borrow quality camping gear

If you don’t know anyone who has any, consider getting together with friends and buying some decent gear together, or renting. Many camping supply stores offer rental options. Not only will you save money in the long run, you won’t be contributing more plastic to landfill.

  1. Buy your festival outfits second hand

Op shops, markets and vintage clothing stores are your best option for that unique festival outfit. Trading items with friends is another great way of keeping your festival wardrobe fresh without spending money or contributing to the fast fashion industry.

  1. Switch to eco glitter

If you love to glitter up, make sure you use earth friendly glitter made from eucalyptus leaves, and not plastic glitter that is likely to end up as in our precious oceans. Look for eco glitter or bio glitter and make sure it is properly accredited - there are some great options around now.

  1. Choose plastic free

Make sure any personal products you take with you are plastic free and in plastic free packaging which is easily recycled or home composted. Bamboo toothbrushes, deodorant in a tin or deodorant in a cardboard tube, and shampoo bars are easy swaps that help reduce plastic consumption and waste. Skip the disposable plastic ear plugs that muffle sound, and choose reusable silicone ear filters instead. 


Many festival organisers in Australia are going to great efforts to make their events more earth friendly, for example, by providing drinking water stations, introducing deposit-recycling schemes to encourage the return of drinks to the bar, and incorporating recycling centres. 

Caloundra music festival in Queensland is plastic water bottle free, and not only provides water refill centres, but asks all festival goers, crew and artists to bring their own bottles. Those who forget can purchase a reuseable stainless steel water bottle on site. It is estimated the festival now diverts 25,000 bottles from landfill each event. In addition, all vendor stalls are required to be plastic free and provide biodegradeable bags, straws and cutlery, and use only biodegradable and ecologically sound detergents and cleaning fluids. Recycling bins are provided and staffed by Waste Warriors to ensure they are used correctly.

Plastic free Australian music festivals

Image by Caloundra Music Festival.

Wave Rock Weekender on the outskirts of the West Australian Desert sets the bar high by diverting 75% of festival waste from landfill. As well as providing filtered drinking water stations, all festival food trucks and bars provide reuseable cups on necklaces and compostable food containers and plates. Limited bins staffed by volunteers ensure revelers are steered towards the correct recycling bins, which are then taken to the nearest recycling stations.

Plastic Free Australian Music Festivals

Image by Wave Rock Weekender.

The Panama festival in Tasmania, attended by just 1400 people, is a zero waste event. Festival goers are asked to take home everything they bring in with the result that virtually no rubbish is left behind. Food stallholders are obliged to provide resuseable cups and compostable plates, and there is on-site recycling and composting. The festival even runs a clothing swap.

Lost Paradise in NSW require all festival goers to sign a pledge to respect the environment, employ trash hunters to ensure no waste is left behind, have cup and can recycling, and a single use bottle ban.

Larger festivals like Splendour in the Grass are working to offset their carbon and support local environmental initiatives. Festival goers are encouraged to bring reuseables with them, sort their rubbish properly and take their tents and other camping and festival paraphernalia away with them when they leave. Until these steps are obligatory, it is up to each of us to do whatever we can to support them.

Green Music Australia are the go to place for information aimed at helping Musicians and the Music Industry to reduce their environmental impact. This has included a focus on greening up music festivals through campaigns such as #BYOBottle which is steadily gaining traction. They are currently campaigning to get Australia's biggest music festivals to go plastic bottle free, and recently collaborated with eventbrite to produce a 6 point guide to help festival organisers reduce single use plastics at events.

But no need to wait until this has been achieved. If you are attending a festival or other music event, you can take the initiative yourself.

Plastic Free Australian Music Festivals

Ekologi Zero Waste Festival Kit


If you would like to talk more about Zero Waste or have tips to share, join the conversation over on our Facebook Group ‘Zero Waste Australia’. To receive Zero Waste news and special offers you can sign up to The Ekologi Store Newsletter. And if you’re looking for eco-friendly, plastic-free swaps to help reduce your waste, please check out The Ekologi Store for products like reusable cups, bags and bottles; and zero waste travel and festival kits.


November 17, 2019 — Anna Nettheim