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
None of our vendors or bars sell disposable plastic bottled water. We are lucky enough to have access to clean, safe mains drinking water at our home of Pippingford Park, 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, crew and performers to bring their own reusable water bottles. If you forget yours or don’t have one, we have a very limited number of sturdy metal bottles available to buy on site.
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.
Reusable Glasses & Cups
In 2016 we introduced reusable drinks cups across all of our bars and are happy to say that these are back in 2022. We work with Green Goblet, who are passionate about eliminating plastic waste from the event industry, and we’ll be hiring their generic cups, to be used again and again. You will be charged a deposit when you buy your first drink. This will be refunded when you return it right at the end of the festival.
A supply of our lovely 10th year ‘Party’ reusable Elderflower Fields cups will also be on sale for £2, for you to keep and use all weekend. Our bars are unable to wash or refund these so you can take them home as a souvenir. If you already have any Elderflower Fields cups at home please do bring them back to reuse again.
Our hot drinks vendors charge a cup levy on any disposable coffee cups so you’ll save money on your cuppa when you bring your own. The festival general store will stock a limited number of reusable cups for sale, but please try and bring your own camping cup for your morning coffee or nighttime cocoa.
We have worked hard to increase the ratio of waste generated at Elderflower Fields that gets recycled and to reduce the total amount of waste generated overall. Thank you for your support. This year we are pleased to be partnering with Wynsdale Waste Management who are helping reduce cross-contamination whilst increasing source segregation, prepare materials for reuse, processing materials and waste for recycling / composting / anaerobic digestion (AD) and recovery. Any general waste that cannot be reprocessed is processed into Refuge Derived Fuel (RDF) which is supplied to the Energy from Waste market for energy recovery.
There is one thing which you can do to help us reduce waste – bring less stuff!… Decant food into reusable containers before you arrive. Eat from our food vendors – much easier than huddling around a camp stove, and dare we say it, more delicious too. Generally, avoid bringing anything single use or with excessive packaging.
And please, please, please: don’t bring glass on to site. We do not have the facilities to recycle it and there is a real risk of broken glass injuring children or wildlife.
Travel Carbon Fund
Customer travel to Elderflower Fields has, by far, the biggest impact on the environment. It accounts for somewhere in the region of 80% of our CO2eq. We recognise that most of our customers are families and need to drive to the festival, but we are always looking for ways to lessen the impact that this has.
We are proud to have partnered with Ecolibrium – a live events industry response to the climate crisis. Ecolibrium is a community of events, festivals, suppliers, artists and music companies taking action to reduce travel impacts and invest in climate solutions. A movement directly investing 100% of all donations in generating clean renewable energy. Replacing and balancing the impact of your travel to the festival. To donate simply enter your postcode when you purchase your tickets to work out the impact of your travel.
For more information on this exciting initiative, visit the Ecolibrium website here.
– Other Green Stuff –
Food & Drink
We banned plastic straws from our bars many years ago (you would be amazed at how many of these we used to 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.
The Elderflower Fields Green Trader Award rewards and recognise those vendors who trade at the festival who make an exceptional effort to reduce their environmental impact.
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 Ecolibrium 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. If you have a spare seat, join the Elderflower Fields friends Facebook group and offer it up or see if you can lift share with friends.
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. To create nature-inspired art for the art trail, our Schools Without Walls team use a wide range of materials. Schools taking part collecting waste items such as cans, plastic bottles, packaging materials, scraps of fabric, and wood which we use to create the art installations displayed on the trail. We work with schools on spreading the message about the importance of ‘reduce, reduce and recycle’ as well as highlighting that you don’t always need expensive art supplies to be creative.
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.
For the last two years we have supported students from the University of Brighton to undertake environmental assessments on the festival as part of their dissertation work. The research which they undertook has helped to shape our planning to reduce our impact. This has been made possible through the support of the Green Growth Platform.