Glastonbury 2016: 10 reasons this is the most sustainable festival yet

As the rain falls and the gates open at Worthy Farm for this year's Glastonbury festival, edie rounds up the green initiatives being introduced to ensure that, even if the fields don't remain green, the festival certainly will.

It’s officially British Summer Time again which every year brings about only two certainties – unremitting torrential rain and the return of one of the world’s most renowned music festivals.

As more than 100,000 party-goers descend on Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, edie takes a look at some of the green features which could make Glastonbury 2016 the most sustainable festival yet. 

So, here is edie’s pick of Glastonbury’s 10 best green features which are set to improve the festival’s sustainability credentials this weekend. 

1) Converting sweat into energy

This year on The Greenpeace Field, the central theme focuses on preserving life as we know it by switching to low carbon technologies and by re-greening our cities. Greenpeace has set up a mini gym near the Pyramid stage, where people power creates the energy for the sound system and screens there.  

2) Solar-powered Attenborough documentaries

Things did not get off to a good start when gates opened on Wednesday, with ticket-holders forced to wait around in queues of up to 12 hours due to rain and ground conditions. As many took to social media to vent their frustration, leading energy company Solarcentury sought to lighten the mood by announcing a large solar panel array donation to the Greenpeace field. 

Installed on the farm is the largest privately owned solar PV array in the UK. The 1,500 square metres of solar panels sit on top of the cattle shed that is home to the 350 Worthy Farm cows. The panels have the potential to generate around 250kWh – around the same amount of power used annually by 40 homes. Any power that isn’t used on the farm is exported to the National Grid.  

The panels will generate electricity to power Glastonbury’s first ever Virtual Reality Dome, which will screen a film on David Attenborough’s spectacular visit to the Great Barrier Reef.  

3) Shower with clean technology

Worthy Farm has introduced solar power and green technology to the Theatre & Circus and Shangri-La areas. All of the cafes, stalls and stages above the old railway line in the Green Fields are powered by the sun or wind – even the showers are solar powered.  

4) Energy is blowin’ in the wind

This year the festival will have hybrid generator sets that that can integrate solar, wind, diesel generator sets, mains grid and battery storage. These hybrid solutions have the advantage of delivering greater peak loads, by passing through power directly from the diesel generator.  

5) Recycle your wrecked tent

The festival is committed to minimising the amount of waste produced, and managing the on-site collection of that waste efficiently. In 2014, half of all waste generated by the festival was recycled. With the help of party-goers, organisers are hoping that this could go to 60% this year.  

6) Rehydrate through reusable water bottles

As part of a commitment to making serious reductions on the volume of plastic bottles on-site, organisers are encouraging everyone to bring a reusable water bottle or to purchase a 100% food grade stainless steel water bottle from one of the 10 WaterAid or two Raw Foundation kiosks. 

7) On-site beer and hot dogs

A couple of reservoirs have been built along with an on-site wholesale market so food and water delivery will be hugely reduced. In 2009 the Worthy Farm team built a reservoir that holds a million litres of water, and this year they are building another one. All of the festival water will come from the mains so the water will not need to be trucked from any other sources.  

8) No silver spoon for party-goers

All cutlery used by market stalls has been made from FSC-assured wood, not plastic. Cups and plates are made of cardboard which is a compostable material, or porcelain.  

9) Planting seeds to green success

Since 2000, more than 10,000 native trees and hedge plants have been planted in the local environment. An orchard of special variety apple and pear trees has just been planted near the farmhouse.  

10) Sustainably-sourced wood

All the wood used by the festival is locally sourced and wherever possible, FSC-assured, ensuring it is sustainable sourced. At the end of the festival all wooden structures are dismantled and the wood is chipped and used around the farm. 

With Glastonbury creating a substantial sustainable commitment, how would other festivals fare against the headline act? Last year, edie rounded-up the sustainable credentials from high-profile summer festivals.

George Ogleby

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