At Elderflower Fields and So Sussex, our aim is to get more families outside to experience the beautiful and diverse natural world, so it’s incredibly important to us that we try to minimise any potential negative impact our activities and events have on the environment. Each year at Elderflower Fields we aim to make improvements in the sustainability of our festival and this page is intended to give you an overview of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we hope to improve.
Bring a Bottle
In 2017, none of our vendors or bars will be selling disposable plastic bottled water. We are lucky enough to have access to clean, safe mains drinking water at Pippingford, so it seems crazy for the festival to generate such a huge amount of plastic waste from water bottles. We are asking all festival goers and crew to bring their own re-usable water bottles, or if you prefer, to buy an Elderflower Fields aluminium water bottle.
Free drinking water will be available at all bars and we are installing more taps across the site to make it easier for you to refill.
You can buy our limited edition EF water bottles via the tickets page of the website or via the direct link below. There is no additional booking fee for water bottles.
The bottles are 550ml with a wide screw top and made from sturdy aluminium. You can pre-order them to collect with your wristbands when you arrive at the festival for just £4. Alternatively a very limited number will be available to buy from the Info Tent at the festival for £5.
In 2016 we introduced reusable glasses in our bars and now all drinks purchased in our bars will be poured in reusable plastic glasses.
You’ll be asked for a £1 deposit when you buy your first drink. This is to encourage you to return your glasses to ensure they can be reused. When you bring your glass back, you can either get a new drink, or your deposit back.
We estimate that in just one year, this will save 20,000 disposable glasses going into the bins!
Ever wondered what happens after you drop your rubbish into one of the bins on site at Elderflower Fields?
We no longer have separate bins for different types of recycling – instead all waste goes into one bin type. This is collected over the course of the festival by our waste team, who move the bins once they’re full up to a big container which we keep in a back of house area. After the festival, this is taken to a Materials Recovery Facility where materials which can be recycled are separated out. They estimate that around 85% of our waste will get recycled this way. The remaining, non-recyclable, materials are then finely shredded and screened to remove any additional metals before being burned, in a fully automated and closely monitored process, to generate super-heated steam which drives high-pressure turbines which, in turn, drive a generator to produce up to 5 megawatts of green electricity.
We are continually looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste produced at the festival and to maximise how much is recycled of what we do produce. If you have any ideas or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!
Travel Carbon Fund
We are very happy to have signed up this year to the Energy Revolution – a festival industry collaboration that turns your fossil-fuel travel miles into a direct investment in renewable energy. Together we can turn millions of miles of travel into clean energy and turn a problem into a solution. Now, when you purchase your Elderflower Fields tickets, you’ll be given the option to donate a small additional amount which Energy Revolution invests in sustainable energy initiatives to replace dirty, non-renewable forms of energy such as oil with sustainable, clean energy solutions such as wind and solar energy.
At the moment we are only offering a fixed donation option when you buy your festival tickets, but soon we hope to be able to use the Energy Revolution’s travel carbon calculator so you can see exactly what impact your journey has.
If you like, you can use the calculator and donate directly on the Energy Revolution website here.
– Other Green Stuff –
Food & Drink
This year we have banned plastic straws from our bars (you would be amazed at how many of these we find around the site, even well after the festival is finished!). We ask all our vendors to minimise packaging and use compostable plates, cutlery and cups. We always try to work with local businesses and encourage them to source their ingredients and products locally, organically and fair-trade.
We’re also working once again with The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, who will be back to save any unwanted food and ingredients from going to waste. Read more about how they’re helping to prevent food waste at the festival and beyond here.
As a family festival, it’s not surprising that most of our customers drive to the festival. The impact of travel to the festival site is pretty much the biggest single generator of carbon emissions for Elderflower Fields. So in addition to the Energy Revolution carbon fund explained above, we also encourage car sharing amongst the crew and try to minimise the distance that our suppliers and equipment travel to get to the festival.
Working with Pippingford estate, we have installed more mains power across the site over the last few years, minimising the amount of diesel powered generators required to run the festival. We also use LED festoon lighting and low energy appliances where possible.
Wherever possible, materials which our activity providers use are sourced sustainably. The Arts Camp for example get lots of their supplies from Cat Fletcher. Card and paper, stuff used to decorate the tent, the large banners that cover the tables and boards that we turn into blackboards are all from her too. This is all stuff that would otherwise go straight to landfill. Cat tirelessly works to redistribute and reuse waste. She is the reuse manager at Brighton and Hove council, founder of Freegle and now 4th on the UK Waste industry Hot 100 list 2017, one place ahead of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall!
Our primary aim for the future is to more closely measure the impact of our festival to help us plan where we can make the biggest differences in improving our sustainability. To this end, we have taken the Festival Vision 2025 Pledge:
We aim to achieve a 50% reduction in festival-related annual GHG emissions by 2025. As a participating festival, we will put measures in place to achieve this, such as:
- Reducing waste where possible and aiming for 50% (or more) recycling rates by 2025.
- Reducing reliance on fossil fuels where possible and aiming to reduce annual diesel consumption by 50% (or more) by 2025.
- Working with audiences, suppliers and artists to positively influence travel choices and reduce travel-related emissions.
- Working with the supply chain to improve accountability and the sustainability of food sourcing.
- Working together as an industry to share experiences (positive and negative) about changes we make, sharing best practice and working toward industry standards where appropriate.
- Measuring key impacts using credible methods in order to measure progress.
- Sharing information to enable (anonymous) annual reporting for the industry e.g. working with Powerful Thinking and other closely affiliated organisations such as Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Festival.