Sharing Green Responsibility

Categories and tags:
Spring 2017

According to Mosise and Macovei (2014), sustainable development and sustainable marketing implicitly depend on the following three factors which are economy, society and the environment. Organizations communicating through events should consider the environmental sustainability portfolio for events (Hart, 2005). Both the event organisers and the attendees have the responsibility to produce a greener impact from a festival. Event organisations have to take into account its impact on the environment, direct and indirect audience. They can do this by eliminating or reducing waste before being created through the use of biodegradable and recyclable products to prevent pollution. The audience should support the green initiatives through adopting a responsible behaviour and mind set towards the environment when making the decision to attend an event. Taking immediate recycling and reusing actions would be very efficient and more eco-friendly to minimise the environmental impact throughout the event’s life cycle.

European countries focus on recycling and it is the norm of European citizen (Jones, 2010). It is a good idea to utilise recyclable materials in the event. There are many event organizations that are aware of the importance of being green and its response on their policies. For example, international Confex 2017 has asked businesses which have a booth to not give out plastic bags. Some events such as Woodford Folk Festival in Australia try to make compost on site in order to reduce waste (Jones, 2010). The Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival also collect food scraps and send it to regional composting facilities, they also work with Eco-products who makes compostable plates and cups (Katsaros, 2014). Food and beverage is a necessary part in an event, but the event organization do not need to reduce their amount of food and drink too much at the same time they will not make much food waste by using compost facilities and compostable items. On the other hand, some events using recyclable items or stuff that able to be recycled in their event, such as Reading Festival uses cardboard cups for beer (Jones, 2010), or a company called Eco event is making furniture from recycled cardboard (Eco event, 2016), it was used in events such as Megabooth in Confex 2016 to assemble their booth (Megabooth, 2017). Some events come up with idea of recycling stuff that cannot be recycled in their industry. For example, musical instrument strings are recycled in XPoNential Music Festival because the strings are not able to be recycled in the US so D’Addario invited a new way of recycle and upcycle the strings called ‘Playback’.

Glastonbury festival produces an enormous amount of waste that is often so great it is featured in national news, this includes 6,500 sleeping bags, 5,500 tents, 3,500 airbeds, 2,200 chairs, 950 rolled mats and 400 gazebos (Churchill, 2016). To further the reputation of Glastonbury and keep public support, it is the duty of event managers to be responsible and show the public that steps are being taken to reduce and minimise waste, while recycling at every available opportunity. In 2016 Glastonbury used an entire team of volunteers to collect, clean and repack all abandoned tents and camping gear, so these could be donated to the refugees in Norther France (Perchard, 2016). Tent recycling will continue through 2017 with designated drop off points to encourage visitors to pack and donate their tents themselves, saving many volunteers hours to focus on the wider clean up. Glastonbury also takes steps to become greener by utilising solar power for the main stage, natural materials in merchandise, hybrid generators for lighting and compostable toilets (Glastonbury, 2016). Recyling is heavily pitched directly to the visitors and various means of recycling services are provided, such as food waste bins, mixed recycling bins and donation drop off points. Glastonbury’s tag line of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” not only applies to the festival itself but to the event visitors and the choices they make before, during and after then event (Glastonbury, 2016).

As mentioned, both side of the participants of event have the responsibility to make an event as green as possible but it will be better if organizations can encourage their attendees to be eco-friendly. A good example of Bonnaroon Music and Art festival got the idea of ‘Clean Vibes’ which they give out recycling raffle to their attendees. The attendees can collect points if they turn in recyclable items to the organization then they can use their points to exchange for some memorabilia or tickets of future events (Katsaros, 2014).

To conclude, there are many ways to make the event green and there will be suitable methods of reducing waste for different kinds of events. The event organizations should know that they can motivate their attendees to help them hold a green event as well. The responsibility of a green event is divided between both the event managers and an event can only truly be green if both parties make a conscious effort and responsible choices.

Reference list:

  • Churchill, L. (2016). Glastonbury Festival: Clear-up of 5,000 abandoned tents begins. [online] Bristol Post. Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].
  • ‘D’Addario String Recycling at XPoNential Music Fest’ (2016) Jazzed: The Jazz Educator’s Magazine, 11, 4, p. 12
  • Eco event (2016) Eco event. Available at: (Accessed: 09/03/2017)
  • Glastonbury, (2016). Glastonbury Festival – Our green policies. [online] Glastonbury Festival – 21st-25th June, 2017. Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].
  • Jones, M. (2010) Sustainable Event Management: A practical guide. Earthscan: London.
  • Katsaros, S. (2014) Music Festivals Keep Beat With Composting, Biocycle, 55, 8, pp. 80-86
  • Megabooth (2017) Eco Photo Booth. Available at: (Accessed: 09/03/2017)
  • Moise, D. and Macovei, O. (2014) ‘Green Events – The New Responsibility of the Organizations’, Romanian Journal Of Marketing, 3, pp. 35-39
  • Perchard, E. (2016). Discarded Glastonbury tents to be donated to refugees. [online] Resource Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].


jlannon2014 says:

Do you think that event companies are showing low levels of moral reasoning? Are they simply doing the bare minimum (as required by licensing authorities and law? Should licensing authorities become more stringent in their licence requirements to force event companies to become more sustainable, if this is the case?

chinzhiya says:

In my opinion, event companies are not showing low levels of moral reasoning. Instead, they are trying to saving their money when they are planning events (since they are here as a business) which means they might use materials that can be used again and again. That will also help the environment as well but sometimes they cannot avoid it because they want to make an event as great as possible. In this case, I think there should have laws to limits event companies, such as using recyclable poppers and confetti or just have events without using them.

PennyForYourContemporaryIssue says:

This is a very good subject to be written about. You’ve mentioned numerous ways in which Events reduce their negative environmental impacts, however you haven’t mentioned any incentives that may get attendees to comply with the events environmental regulations. Are there any events that do use incentives to get attendees to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi PennyForYourContemporaryIssue, that is a really good point that we should think about as well. Thanks for your valuable input. We do have Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival that encourage their attendees by giving them raffles. However, we have not found other examples that provide incentives to their event attendees but M. J. Church Event Waste Management has a blog about the incentives. Hope event companies can have a look and make their event greener!
In case if you are interested in the blog:

tesswarbs says:

Being environmentally responsible has been an issue in the industry for years, however not every event organisation is concerned with going above and beyond in terms of being sustainable. What will event managers gain from going the extra mile?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Event managers will have to think beyond their current gains and loss to understand and be motivated to go the extra mile to be sustainable. Voices of Youth gave a reason that in the long term, they will have a stronger and better reputation as event organisers who are more environment friendly and want their attendees to be more environment conscious. As they keep carrying out this practice, future attendees will have adopted this habit and they in turn will naturally recycle and reduce their wastes not only in events but also in their daily lives. Also, when event managers partner up with other organisations that helps with environmental issues, they can make valuable contacts and expand to more similar collaboration to other parts of the world. Voices of Youth helps people to learn more about issues affecting their world and you can get to know more here:

Robin Barsellotti says:

good to see these issues are being taken more seriously. Hopefully all future large scale events will adopt these practices and they will become accepted as mandatory I agree perhaps they should be made part of the licencing agreements by local authorities.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Yes, we should really make the law to protect our environment more but we need our government to care about it. The department of ecology in Washington in the USA has a document about event recycling, that provides really helpful guidelines to event coordinators. Of course we do have similar things in the UK such as Borough Council in Bedford has a page about recycling at events which offer event managers to contact them for help. But we still need them to work more about it, isn’t it?
If you are interested in the document or the page that I mentioned:
Department of ecology:
Bedford Borough Council:,_recycling_and_waste/recycling_at_events.aspx

ash hussain says:

It seems inspiration is there for the change, for automation in public habbits will take time specially when recycling in question.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

There are a lot of individuals who do recycle as part of their routine, and those who do not put much importance on recycling need to know that they play an important role in helping the environment and their efforts will make their own and other people’s life better. Surplus equipment can be donated to be used elsewhere rather than spending unnecessarily to dispose of the reusable things and getting new ones. Surplus food can be redistributed and help relieve food poverty. You can learn more on effective recycling here:

Chin BK says:

Practices of recycle, reuse and reduce need to be constantly publicised to influence concert goers to go green.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hello, yes articles on those practices is published within a constant period of time and easily seen everywhere to keep reminding people to do it. Perhaps it should also be published in a more different formats to get the message across people of different age group? i.e. more simple information, with colour cartoon images for children, and also in audio/braille/large prints?

Laura Bowles says:

Interesting topic. The shift towards focusing on sustainability is great. As you’ve mentioned many events are implementing ‘Green Policies’ to improve their practice. However, as attendees significantly contribute to an event’s environmental impact, what are event managers doing to encourage the attendees to participate in sustainable practice?

80% of an events carbon footprint is made up of audience travel, this is perhaps something you could have considered.

What are the other benefits for ‘going green’? It is cheaper? or is it more expensive?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hey Laura, thanks for your comment. Reducing waste is a good way to save money for those businesses. If they are using materials that could be used again and again, they will save their spending on their future events although the stuff may be more expensive (because it might costs more if they buy the things one-of every time). By the way, I had a look at the prices of both eco-friendly disposable plastic cups and normal disposable plastic cups, unfortunately the eco-friendly one is a bit pricier (about £0.03). Although it is more expensive, I still think event managers have the duty to pay more to protect the environment, the Earth, because we cannot hold events anymore once the environment is destroyed (such as if the ice age comes again). For the way of encouraging attendees, I think it will depend on the type of the event. As mentioned in the blog, festivals can use raffles to encourage them. For those events like sport events or concerts, the players should speak out to encourage their fans to do it. Fans would be happier to do it if their favorite singer or players have ask them to do in the events.

Jordan says:

This remains an interesting topic and as someone who is very environmentally conscious, it is great to see that this is a shared concern being talked about.

With around 80% of festivalgoers considering they should be environmentally responsible suggests a growing change in how events are beginning to influence environmental responsibility. Have you had a looked at some of the smaller festivals such as Shambala? They offer a tent scheme, using recycled tents from other festivals by charging attendees a minimal fee as an incentive while still meeting their needs and eliminating the responsibility of removing the tent. There is a disconnection between green intentions and operational practice, which suggests, some events need to have stricter polices and education programmes in order to ensure green practices are consistent.

Glastonbury, despite valiant attempts to instill collective cooperation amongst attendees to clean up their campsite by utilising the ‘Love Your Tent ‘campaign, has to date failed to eradicate the problem. How do you think Glastonbury organisers can begin to tackle this problem? Or is it down to the attendees?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi Jordan, you have pointed out a very good point about Glastonbury’s issue with the ‘Love Your Tent’ campaign. I think the organisers and starting out on a good path and they will need some time to reduce the problem, along with the ability to be flexible and creative in coming up with various solution for different issues that may come up in each year. Attendees play an important role as well in helping the organisers to tackle the problem because if the cooperate with them, it will be evident they will slowly reduce rather than more burden on the organisers.

winneeshares says:

Interesting article, every event organisers should start implementing the 3Rs to help make the event more environmentally friendly. Support green always!

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Glad that you support being green! Keep up the hard work of reusing, reducing and recycling, it pays off in the end!

Mir Ejaz says:

I like the idea of green event. Event organisers should work with all the stakeholders in order to achieve desired results. I think local authorities (Environmental services) are well equipped and able to manage waste management issues in such events.Event organisers and event volunteers should work in partnership and create temporary waste collection points. Event organisers should allocate reasonable percentage of funds to local authority for proper waste management solution. Waste management, waste minimisation, recycling should be part of event advertisement, on and after the event.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Local authorities also can greatly support the collaboration of event organisers and the stakeholders in the regulation and legislation aspects whenever needed as they have the jurisdiction to do so.

Jake says:

The growing trend around the world seems to be going green, for example if hotels improve their green efficiency they receive awards and sometimes financial benefits, Is this something that happens in events also?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hey Jake, that’s really good idea. Hotels are a big part of events, I do think either the event managers and the hotels should get rewards if they doing recycle very well. The government should encourage those business too.

Heidi says:

This is a great topic to talk about as I believe so many people are still unaware of the impact this has on our world.
As stated, festivals are doing many things to try and reduce the amount of waste both during and after the event, but are they doing enough? After attending a camping festival myself, I have seen the aftermath of tents, sleeping bags and rubbish scattered around the camp site. This is not a pleasant sight to see as an environmentally friendly person. This issue can be very hard to tackle as it is not just down to the attendee it is also how event organisers put the message across to the audience and trying to limit this from happening.
As well as having the paper cups at Reading festival, they also give 10 or 20p per cup for just collecting them from around the festival site. This is a great incentive in getting festival goers to look after the environment and will also save time cleaning up days after the festival is finished. Incentives like this should definitely be added to festivals and events to help look after our environment.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hello Heidi, as you have attended a camping festival in person you have seen then sad reality of environmental consequences that comes from it. Hopefully when attendees are motivated by such incentives, they will start coming up with their own and propose them to the organisers and work on it efficiently.

Interesting blog post!

Do you not think that some attendees of events such as festivals, will believe that only to a certain extent they have a level of responsibility to recycle? As a festival goer and generally often at events I believe there is a belief that it is irrelevant which area or ‘bin’ you dispose of items into, as they will all be sorted through when they are collected anyway.

Also, is there an incentive for event attendees to recycle? Or even dispose of their rubbish? I think some attendees have the mindset of ‘once they leave the site, rubbish is not their responsibility’, especially as there are designated staff to do such a job.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi, yes I agree with you that attendees would feel they have the responsibility of their rubbish when they left there, which is really sad and a shame. People always think there are someone to clean it. I actually think that it is not only the duty of event managers to encourage their attendees to do the recycle. I think it is actually about society values. People should be educated as they have to recycle their rubbish and reduce their waste since they are kids. Looking at the bus or underground in London or in New York, there are always people leaving their rubbish and the train and stations are dirty. Compared to the subway in Tokyo, it is so clean. They don’t have law to say they can’t eat or drink in the subway, but the Japanese can keep it clean because of their manner. I don’t know how they educate their people but I think it’s their society value, the mindset. Don’t you think stay clean if the first step of doing recycle? We wouldn’t expect people to do recycle if they don’t even put their rubbish in bins.
Here is a video of Tokyo subway vs. New York subway, if you are interested in:
Sorry that my answer is not really about the ‘event’. I just believe that people should keep clean, recycle and reduce waste from the normal life.

I personally agree. It should be second nature to rid your waste. Especially due to the significant and constant increase in environmental issues we’re facing as a planet!

However, it is unmistakably difficult for event managers to monitor their attendees’ every move, surely? Especially as the manager will be having many other task to check off their to-do list.

As ignorant as this may sound, it is the very reason cleaners are hired. Because not everyone has the mindset of cleaning up after themselves.

Perhaps cleaning up after themselves is not the main problem, as hiring people to clean is a good way to provide people with employment. However, the actual disposal of the waste by the event, I feel, is the main issue. Do we, as event professionals, actually go the extra mile to ensure we are being ethical and ‘green’? I don’t think we do, and in all honesty I feel as though we shouldn’t even be debating this. Event professionals should be working towards a greener industry, we should be leading by example. Perhaps if we make a great example to our attendees, we can encourage more and more people to make recycling and ‘being clean’ part of every day life!

Beth says:

Interesting Blog.

I definitely agree that this subject needs to be considered more and events do have a responsibility.

But when you state that events have a divided responsibility with the event attendees is this balanced?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

As event managers we want to achieve this balance but first we need to be mentally prepared that we have to make the first effort to prepare the facilities for recycling and composting so that event attendees are educated and exposed to these practices and slowly form the habit and awareness of being more environmentally friendly.

kate Loz says:

Recycling should be more forced upon the people than just as an option. i rest my case.

Also, in general i think plastic bags being given out/sold should cost way more than 5p, instead around £2 to hopefully put people off buying them and then just throwing them away, without re-using them.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi Kate, thanks for comment. It’s nice that you appear to care so much. Yes I do think 5p is too cheap to discourage the use of plastic bags, our environment is not that cheap, isn’t it? There are already some people use their own bags because they don’t want to pay 5p but there still a lots of them think ‘it just costs 5p’. If it is £2, I believe most of them would bring their own bags. And yes recycling might work quicker especially on individuals who are simply too selfish to care if it’s forced upon rather than being an option, as the saying ‘when push comes to shove’ goes.

Michelle says:

I really enjoyed this topic, there were lots of interesting points that I didn’t know before. The only thing I would suggest is researching into more festivals and not just Glastonbury; perhaps there are other festivals out there that make recycling a primary point, they could be more obscure and harder to find information about. I just think larger events like Glastonbury are difficult to discuss in terms of environmentality because of the sheer size of it. I don’t think it’s a problem that will be solved straight away, so I definitely agree that a little bit at a time is the best step forward! Surprising to see it’s not been in practice longer to be honest.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi Michelle, I’m glad that the blog helped you gain some new information. Another example of festival that environment friendly is the Shambala Festival. Besides recycling, they promote sustainability by supporting eating less meat, saving baby turtles and a sense of community. Here is the link if you would like to know more about the Shambala Festival:

Mohsin says:

Quite an interesting topic and an issue I feel should be more highlighted in the media aswell, but I do believe that at times cost related measures aren’t always effective and that people should be encouraged by ways of raising awareness. When it comes to festivals I personally think they should encourage certain zones where people can eat and drink, thus containing the waste and making it easier to manage.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi Mohsin, you have made a good point about being time cost related measures. It would help the cleaning up process much easier and quicker, it might also be safer if attendees are only allowed to eat and drink in certain zones so that they are less likely to spill their food and drinks from less moving about. Composting could be easier as they can directly put the leftovers at the composting facilities which would ideally be located near the eating and drinking zones. Thanks for you input!

Hi there,
Firstly, really interesting blog! The issues surrounding sustainability and the events industry are prominent. We think that this idea is really informative in terms of sustainability and becoming ‘eco-conscious’, however, as festival goers ourselves, we believe that restricting food and drink to particular areas may cause some issues regarding the festival experience itself. For example, if an artist was scheduled at a time that a festival goer wanted to eat their lunch, they would not be able to enjoy it. More importantly, it is legal requirement that water is accessible to all festival attendees at all times. If they cannot have access to water bottles in the main stage areas this may cause potential health hazards.
How would you suggest that they get around this?

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Here is the comment from Darren from eco-event as well!

Hi there,
Thanks you posting about Eco Event in your blog – Looks great! Keep spreading the message about protecting the environment in the event industry. We have lots of great content on our blog that you are welcome to share.
Many thanks,

Vortex says:

Interesting subject, more people need to be aware of how they affect the planet. My suggestion for this, is look at what smaller festivals does to encourage green behaviour. Have you looked at the idea of bottle banks like the ones in Europe? that could give people an even a small incentive to recycle.

Sharing Green Responsibility says:

Hi there, yes smaller festivals do give inspiration for everyone to start their green behavior on a smaller scale which hopefully grows bigger. If there were bottle banks everywhere in the world apart from just Europe, the habit of recycling would slowly be nurtured in the people not doing it already. Thanks for your input!

Sandra chin zhi jia says:

It’s a very effective idea to make people more aware on the cleanliness of the environment. Also,since public events like festivals have large crowds,there will be food & beverages, rubbish will also be created. The waste bins & compost are good ways to reduce wastage of food. Countries should practise more from this green event. They will definitely benefit from it as well as for the earth’s resources.

Johnny Tan says:

Yes, I agree, especially in this day in age, where environmental actions are the new trend. These days, the public is viewing sustainable environment as a sign of being modern. However, being sustainable is much harder said then done. For starters, it requires a lot of planning and maintaining, being sustainable means you need to counteract the unsustainable factors, which are always changing depending on the circumstances. Second, lots of factors need to be considered into the subject, government, community, environment, time, commitment, MONEY etc etc. all of which needs to work in sync with each other for it be to effective and long lasting. Thirdly, people can’t say they are recycling and call it sustainable, there are some instances that recycling may cause more harm, for example, recycling glass bottle, on the face of it looks like a great action to do, but what most people don’t realise the effort need to recycle glass bottle, for example, they are heavy and therefor needs to burn more fuel to transport it to transport it to the recycling factory, as well as more steps to go though recycling the glasses, these are just the tip of the iceberg in what also needs to be considered in sustainable activities, and not just the face of it. Therefor some would consider that using new materials are much easier, CHEAPER and less environmental harmful.

I highlighted MONEY and CHEAPER above to stress that everything we do about sustainability involves money, and that the fact that every profession out there is some sort of business, everything from transporting glass bottles to planning cost money. And most company couldn’t afford those luxuries, and some that do are not willing to for obvious reasons. Businesses are physiologically program to save as much money as possible and do what’s beneficial to them and their lives, therefor businesses wouldn’t involve in any sort of sustainable activities unless it will benefit them, just for the sake of looking good and trendy in the eyes of the public may not be enough to sway companies to get involve in these activities.

However, when sustainable environment is getting more and more popular, I argue that the dilemma of business not getting involve will soon be a part of history, as the trend of sustainability as well as the need to tackle the inevitable treat of climate change, at some point in the future, fusing sustainability into business may be too good and important to refuse.

I would also applaud the businesses that are already trying to incorporate sustainability into there work, as they are doing everything they can and are open to change and are willing to adapt. Which in my opinion will be more successful in the future as there are not “ahead of the game”.

Anthony says:

It’s very interesting to see what different events do in order to be more environmentally friendly. It makes me slightly sad that at events like Glastonbury there is such a culture of waste from the Attendees, though. It’s good that the organisers are trying to do something about it, but I wonder whether society as a whole puts a disproportionate amount of responsibility on organisers of events and organisations, rather than on the culture of waste as a whole. It’s interesting to see the creative ways in which events go about mitigating waste and using recycling. I just wonder how many of them do it for the image of their event, rather than for the environmental causes themselves.

IcarusSolarus says:

Interesting take on things however I would say that festival goers / organisers tend to be more left wing / ecologically minded then the majority : so are actually ahead of the game more often then not. Although the larger events are turning more corporate as the ticket prices demonstrate…

Perhaps we should focus more on the environmental impact that global cattle production for the meat/milk/skin market has created., or the fact that within my 30 plus years on this planet the great barrier reef has gone from being the most resplendent example of a reef in the world to dying/dead?

My understanding is the deforestation and methane creation from the additional cattle needed to satisfy humanity’s demand for steak and cow breast milk is one of the main causes for global warming… it’s not exactly gonna be a good thing.
Another concern is the fact that global energy companies are buying any significant developments in clean energy and sitting onto / killing the project. All to propel the need for their product.
Thoughts ?
By the way I’m a meat eating milk drinker before you jump on the vegan / terian / conspiracy bandwagon 😂🤛.

Applebee says:

Events seem to be a good way of testing whether goods practices can be scaled up to work on a mass audience.

While many music festivals might have an environmental ethos, some of the measures such as bicycle-powered mobile phone charging stations might have little actual impact beyond education and reinforcing the idea of environmentalism. Effective measures might happen behind the scenes at any type of festival, with or without the audience-facing environmental ethos.

The desert-based Burning Man festival in the US has a strong reputation of instilling personal responsibility amongst attendees, for instance getting people to remove all traces of their visit, without much interference from the organisers. However the attending audience is very on-message and unrepresentative of the wider population.

Comments are closed.