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Staying Green

Read about our environmental sustainability initiatives and how you can help

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Staying Green

Music Festivals have an impact on the environment because of the transport taken, energy they use,  waste generated, water use as well as the food and drink consumed. The Show Must Go On Report 2020 shows that the biggest impacts are travel, energy and waste.

As set out in our Sustainability Charter we have a responsibility to preserve the live music experience for generations to come and the opportunity to use our platform to inspire global environmental action.

We have signed up to the Vision 2025 pledge and are working towards a 50% reduction in event related greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 (from 2014 levels).

Julie’s Bicycle

We work very closely with Julie’s Bicycle, a not-for-profit organisation working on sustainability within the creative industries. As part of our commitment to reduce our environmental impact, we take part in their Creative Green certification that is the leading mark of achievement on environmental sustainability within the creative industries.

In 2019 we are very pleased to have been awarded a full 5 stars! Thank you to everyone for participating. The Creative Green report can be downloaded here.

Single Use Plastic

The world has seen the impacts of plastic pollution on our oceans – turtles eating plastic, seabirds feeding plastic to chicks and now studies show microplastics in UK rivers which are not only a source of life for otters, freshwater fish and birds like kingfishers but there is growing concern they are becoming plastic waterways pumping pollution through our towns and villages and into our oceans.

Here’s what we’ve put in place to work towards eliminating single-use plastic at Reading & Leeds, please work with us and dispose of what plastic is on site responsibly:

  • We have banned the use of single use plastic cutlery and non-compostable serve ware since 2009
  • All water bottles sold are made from 50% recycled plastic
  • All trader soft drinks will be served from cans and decanted into paper cups in the arena
  • All bottled alcoholic drinks will be decanted into cups, so we can manage the plastic disposal responsibly
  • Please bring a plastic or metal refillable bottle with you to refill at the arena water stations #BYOBbottle
  • All bottles and cups have a 10p deposit on included in the price which you can redeem at the refund points in the Arena


Travelling to the festival makes up 80% of the total carbon emissions generated. You could travel by public transport or car share to help reduce this.

Read the latest full report here.

Travel Impact

Together we can make a difference, think about your travel impact when coming to and leaving the festival site.

We recommend using public transport or Big Green Coach. With 41 pick up locations, there’s bound to be one near you. Return journeys start from just £44, book now before prices go up.

If you need to drive, sign up to to save money on a permit and park right at the front in the Priority Car Park for free. Looking for a lift? Find awesome people who’ll drive you to the festival. Travel green and save money.

Big Green Coach

Big Green Coach are back as Official Travel Partner to Reading 2022 and this year, all services are carbon neutral.

Take the hassle out of planning your journey and get dropped inside the festival gates, no one gets you closer.

They are running WEEKEND and DAY RETURN services from more than 40 pick-up locations.

WEEKEND SERVICES – Choose to arrive Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and they’ll get you home on Monday morning (feeling super fresh).

DAY RETURNS – Just heading in for the day? Big Green Coach will drop you at the gates before music starts and won’t leave until the action is over. Party hard and sleep all the way home!


Forget hotels, trains, and shuttle buses. Leave the car at home and forget being designated driver.

DEPOSIT SCHEME – Skint? No worries. Cover the cost of your seat for £10 and pay the rest later.


Putting the GREEN in Big GREEN Coach. Getting the coach is the greenest way to travel simply because it takes so many cars off the road.

This year Big Green Coach will calculate the emissions of each journey and invest in sustainable projects, ensuring your trip is carbon neutral. PLUS they will continue to sponsor 5 sq ft of Amazon Rainforest for 10 years, for every customer that travels with them. That’s more than one million sq ft already protected!

Volunteer on the Green Team

Volunteer on the Green Team!

Help us save the planet, one festival at a time – We’re looking for volunteers who are full of energy, passionate about the environment and enjoy engaging with people about green issues.

As a member of our Green Team you will receive a crew wristband, get to camp in crew camping with like-minded people and access to hot showers and nice toilets. You will also gain valuable experience in the sustainable events field, whilst taking time to enjoy the festival when not volunteering.

Apply here 

Car Share

If you are driving to the festival, sign up to to save money on a permit and park right at the front in the Priority Car Park for free. Looking for a lift? Find awesome people who’ll drive you to the festival. Travel green and save money.


We run a three-bin system at the festival, which means every bin station in the campsite and Main Arena will be formed by 3 bins:

COMPOST – When you buy food from the traders, everything your food comes in is compostable so plates, cutlery and napkins can be placed in the compost bins along with the food scraps. Please make sure no plastic goes into the compost.

RECYCLE – Plastic bottles, aluminium cans, newspapers, magazines and clean and dry cardboard (no used greasy pizza boxes as these do not recycle).

GENERAL WASTE – There should be minimal left over that goes into General Waste.

Cup & Bottle Deposits

Greenpeace are back at this year’s festival to help festival-goers tackle plastic pollution. All paper cups and bottles bought in the arena have a 10p refundable deposit which will be refunded to you if you bring 10 back.

10 x bottles = £1

10 x cups = £1.

Before returning, empty all contents, no crushed or broken bottles/cups.


This year Greenpeace have completed the biggest ever plastic testing of UK rivers and have found that they are quickly becoming plastic waterways – harming wildlife and polluting our oceans. We need to protect the rivers that connect us, the air we breathe and the soil where nature takes root. Greenpeace volunteers will be running the Deposit Return Scheme as well as showing you how you can take action.


As part of our commitment to increase recycling, all plastic bottles sold at the Co-op campsite supermarket will have a refundable deposit added to the price, campers are able to return the bottles to the reverse vending machine in exchange for a voucher to spend in the Co-op on-site store. The bottles collected at each festival will then go on to be recycled to create bottles for Co-op’s own brand bottled water.


Energy generation is one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide emissions globally and in the UK.

All of our tower and festoon lights are 100% LED. LED lights are 95% more environmentally friendly than fluorescent and incandescent lights.

Last year Reading festival used two-hybrid generators. These use renewable energy from the sun to charge up batteries to power the areas more efficiently. We are doubling the amount of used cooking oil biodiesel used this year.

Water Refills

Please refill your water bottles at the taps provided. Please bring a refillable bottle with you to refill. Join the #RefillRevolution #BYOBottle

View a list of everything you can and can’t bring, here.

Campsite Recycling Champions

Thanks so much to everyone who took their tent home and used the zero-waste recycling system last year. Our Green Team will be handing out clear bags around the campsites and they’re also available to grab at the recycling points. Help keep Reading Festival clean and be in with a chance to win prizes!

GOLD – Bring back a bag of recycling AND general waste and you could win tickets for next year.

SILVER – Bring back a bag or recycling OR general waste and you could win merch.

BRONZE – Bring back broken tents/camping equipment or unopened tins of food and you could win Co-op vouchers to use offsite.

Tents and Camping Equipment

Only bring what you can take home with you!  When packing ready for the festival weekend, remember to pack wisely and only bring essential items.

Pink Moon offer pre-pitched tents or if you’re bringing your own tent we ask you to take it home, along with any other camping equipment.

Launching at Reading Festival 2019, FestivalBag offers a hassle-free way of moving your kit to and from a festival to avoid needless landfill waste. With FestivalBag you travel to the festival equipment free, pick up your FestivalBag, pitch up and ROCK out, then you throw your kit into the bag and drop it off as you’re leaving. You get the FestivalBag delivered home where you can REUSE your kit and for being a sustainable festival going legend you get a REWARD. Then a percentage of all profit will be invested in RESEARCH and development. This will create products that reflect long-lasting design, like turning a disused FestivalBag tent into a FestivalBag poncho. Everything you need for Reading Festival all in one, delivered to and from the festival. Job done! Get yours now and be a Zero Waste Festival Goer.

If you have any broken tents chairs, gazebos, empty batteries, unopened tins of food after the festival, please take them to the Recycling Points.

The reality is that abandoned tents end up in the landfill because it is impossible to recycle or reuse them.

Say no to single-use, reuse your tent! Buy a durable tent that you can use again each year, it will save you money in the long run.

Extinction Rebellion

The world is more wonderful than we know it! You, the young people, are Planet Warriors. You led the way at Reading Festival 2019.

Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent movement taking direct action to force urgent action on the climate and ecological crisis. We were very happy to have hosted them at Reading & Leeds last year. Visit their website to learn more about the emergency and how you can get involved with the world’s fastest-growing movement for system change.

#thisisforlife #xrfestivals


We put together a salvage operation after the festival for organisations to collect some of the perfectly reusable camping equipment that is left behind therefore reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill or incineration.

This is an opportunity for charities and community groups to come to the festival site on the Monday and Tuesday after the show and help save what they can. Please register your details here and email if you have any questions.