What is happening now?

It Is well researched that the current levels of water consumption are unsustainable. Water scarcity is a global issue and it is estimated that…

1.8 billion people will be living in water scarce areas by 2025.

As the population increases; demand for water consumption grows. Costs against water have increased significantly in recent years and are forecast to continue to climb.Can we use water more effectively?

The Infographic Show on YouTube presents an insightful video to some shocking fact about water and the current global situation. Follow the link below.

Shocking facts about water- The Infographic Show

Water at events?

Water needs to be managed at various stages of an event; from fresh drinking water supply to handling sewage.

The 4 different categories of water used are:

Including water conservation and waste water management into your event will be an integral part of its sustainability, now and in the future. Water conservation is the prevention, control and development of water resources. Waste water management is the process to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants from water.

Toilets at festivals

A highly important element for festivals are toilet facilities. This is an essential part of an event but can effect an events overall sustainability by the water usage, chemical usage, transport of kit, and treatment of sewage. Festivals have a number of options; the most popular being portable toilets and compost toilets. When considering the toilets best fitted to your event it is essential that the toilets are low volume flushing or waterless.

Portable toilets are what you tend to find at an outdoor event; although they might not be to appealing they are the cheapest option for event organisers. There are a lot of downfall to portable toilets including the transport cost to get the toilets themselves to the event but also elements to deal with the sewage after the event is over.

Compost toilets are becoming more popular at festivals and outdoor events.  These are environmentally friendly alternative to portable toilets as there is no water or chemical usage.  A positive to compost toilets are that the transportable waste is reduced by 80-90%. The cost for compost toilets is larger than portable toilets but what is best for the environment?

Bottled Water at festivals

Bottled water is a big practicality for festival attendees but do you know the implications it can have on the environment? Although it can be easy to buy a bottle of water and dispose of it quickly the implications it has on the environment are a lot higher then using a tap. The cost to make bottled water is several hundreds time larger then tap water. Not forgetting the level of plastic pollution it can create.

The ‘Bring a Bottle’ campaign was created by Kambe and aims to reduce the environmental impacts by eliminating disposable plastics. They plan to increase water supplies and have access to fresh water more accessible.

How can you spend a penny at festivals now?

Glastonbury is a large festival and requires a lot of toilet facilities to accompany the large attendee rates. In 2015 the event had over 4000 toilet facilities which included 2000 long drop, 1,300 compost toilets as well as portable toilets and a small number of flushing

toilets for those who missed the comfort of an indoor toilet. The festival also had 700 meters’ worth of men’s urinals and 4 shepee sites for the ladies willing to try something different.

Bestival had a choice between portable toilets and compost toilets which were spread out around the event grounds.

Shambala in 2014 had 220 portable toilets and 52 compost toilets. The event is always looking for ways to improve and become a greener festival; the aim for 2016 is to only use compost toilets.

What are water bottle policies at events?

V festival promote bring your own bottle to refill whilst at the event. Although the bottle must be plastic and no more than 1 litre. You can purchase water from any of the catering units available.

Bestival supply water bottles but they are specifically made out of bio degradable material. These are supplied by Life Water and profits made go to charities helping water projects in developing countries.

Shambala has introduced the ‘Bring a Bottle’ campaign in 2015 10,000 single use water bottles were not used as the festival banned on-site sales. The festival sold 821 stainless steel bottles that raised money for a water based charity. The festival also used reusable cups and managed to save 1 tonne of plastic when compared to using disposable. 120, 242 bar cups prevented from being used once and discarded.

How can this be improved?

Through research it is clear that water plays a big part to the sustainability of a festival. It is important to understand that elements of water can affect other factors; such as increasing carbon emissions and plastic pollution. But can this be reduced?

The answer to this is yes, by using 100% water-free toilets and 100% chemical free toilets will reduce water usage and transport emissions. Shambala is a festival that strive to achieve its green goals and for 2016 they aim to use 100% compost toilets. Compost toilets allows you to compost your sewage; this lowers transport and lowers the overall carbon emissions. Some say that you can even use the resulting compost to fertilize the land your event is held at.

The use of bottled water at events can be decreased by introducing some rules and regulations. As a result, the banning of on-site sales of bottled water decreased the plastic pollution at Shambala festival by a large amount. The initiative of selling reusable bottles not only allows the attendee to have access to water but allows the festival to raise money for charities enhancing water efficiency around the globe.

Let’s work together to save water and make events greener!

Do you have any idea as to how events can save water?

What are your thoughts and opinions on the matter?

Tweet us @daisyheselden or comment below


Amy says:

Brilliant article… Tackles a really important issue with Festivals!!

Thank you Amy, I’m glad you agree that this is a very important issue for event organisers to consider.

I agree in getting rid of portaloos, they are one of the worst things about festivals! I think more festivals should introduce waterless toilets or compostable ones even if they do cost a bit more.

Thank you for your comment, It is right that compost toilets are more expensive but the overall sustainability of them is much higher. I feel event organisers need to invest in order to make their festival greener.

Stephanie Tipping says:

A very informative article that raises excellent points regarding an important issue in the industry. It is very interesting to read the improvements that have recently been implemented by Shambala.

Thank you Stephanie for your comment. I feel that the policies and procedure Shambala possess need to be implemented at more festivals within the UK.

Anonymous says:

Good article. I think everywhere should have filling stations. Glastonbury do with water aid manning the stalls. Good wood festival of speed has filling points too… Tap water so much better than bottled — and remember you should not have to pay for it

Thank you for your comment. I completely agree that providing drinking water through taps is a more sustainable and cost effective answer for festivals. Not mentioning the reduce of plastic pollution.

Anonymous says:

We always bring empty bottles to Gatwick as they have drinking fountains by the toilets in departures. You are allowed to bring empty bottles through customs. Saves money and resources. I took my own water to Wildlife Festival but would be great to be able to refill.

Thank you for your comment. That is great advice about taking empty bottles through customs, perfect way to save money and resources. I believe that all festivals should provide taps in order to refill water as it is cheaper and more sustainable.

Neil says:

Wow a really interesting read, as a plumber and gas engineer and festival goer, I am very interested in ways of Conserving water and the environment and Install water harvesting System for flushing toilets in houses so I think this could be adapted for use at festival toilets and saving potable water.
Will definitely be taking more consideration at festivals and my impact on this

Thank you for your comment Neil. Its lovely to hear from a plumber and gas engineer; with your expertise do you feel there is a better solution than compost toilets for festival?

Patricia says:

Fantastic article and think everywhere and everyone should be listening and not just reading to these very important facts! Supplies of water are definitely lower than demands and everyone should be doing their best to conserve water. I feel like these suggestions should be put into actions! Let’s save water!

Thank you for your comment Patricia. I hope festivals take action and start using less water.

Alan says:

Good article, I think festival organisers should provide a litre bottle of water included in the price of the ticket with filling stations providing free top ups.

letsuselesswater says:

Thank you for your comment. Thats a great idea to provide attendees with a bottle to refill. Do you think by selling stainless steel bottles would encourage festival goers to reuse rather than throw away?

Alan says:

Even better, designer bottles people will want to keep.

Helen says:

Compost toilets at Glasto are great and actually they don’t stick anywhere as much as portaloos! Also watered stands all over the place will refill your water bottle free of charge.

Thank you for your comment Helen. Its clear compost toilets have more then 1 advantage for festivals. Do you feel if water stations had better signage that they will be used more by festival goers?

phil says:

A very informative and effective piece. Very apt with the likes of San Francisco looking to ban plastic water bottles. Would like to see this article used as an educational tool at schools.

Thank you for your comment Phil. Its interesting to hear that San Francisco are looking to ban plastic water bottles. I feel this is an easy step all festivals should follow. I also agree that water usage and plastic pollution should be talked about more within education.

Jean says:

There is free water available at a number of ‘stations’ at Wildlife. The ‘taps’ are separate to the bar so people can just go there and get it.

Thank you for your comment Jean. I attended Wildlife festival and was not aware that there were water stations available. Do you feel better signage will promote the water stations and allow festival goers to use them more?

Louise says:

Brilliant article.

Thank you for your comment Louise.

Olly Dall says:

Good blog, the big question is would a festival make the compost toilets free? If they did then everyone would use them.

Thank you for your comment Olly. I agree that event organisers should make using compost toilets free.

Jane says:

Very interesting article tackling some very important issues. Free tap water should be available at all events. It should also be made more available at public locations such as parks, theme parks etc. We spend a lot of money in the UK purifying our water for human consumption which does not happen abroad. Bottled water is expensive to produce and is definitely not environmentally friendly. Reusable bottles/cups (especially with snoopy pictures on them) are much more effective.

With regard to toilets . . . At events this can be a particular problem especially if there are not enough facilities available. When visiting America chemical toilets were available at most beauty spots but more often than not were full, filthy and smelled disgusting. I would like to know more about compost toilets as I have not heard of them before!!

Well done 😀

Thank you for your comment Jane. I agree that fresh water should be made more available in public places. It is a luxury we have in the UK and needs to be more available. Compost toilets are a waterless solution for festivals. It is also said that the smell is nowhere near as bad as portable toilets.

Harrison says:

Fantastic article displaying some very important topics for discussion.

I was firstly intrigued by the fact; drinking 8 bottles of water a day can cost up on $1400 over a year, since this I have started to refill the same bottle.

Regarding water at festivals I think it would be hugely beneficial for festival attendees to receive a water bottle upon entering which can be filled up at water stations; I have attended two festivals and both times was not aware of places to fill up and drink water. The ‘Bring a Bottle’ campaign is the way forward.

I was also not aware that compost toilets existed at festivals but after reading this article I think they are a good idea. However, as the price of them is much more than portable toilets I think festival organisations would be put off the idea.

Thank you for your comment Harrison. The YouTube video provide some shocking fact about day to day water usage. I glad it has had an impact on your everyday habits. Do you feel reusable bottles rather than plastic bottles would be beneficial to festival goers?
With regards to the compost toilets I feel it is a price event organisers should be willing to spend. Compost toilets have a lot less impact on the environment.

Comments are closed.