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Staying Green

Read about our environmental sustainability initiatives and how you can help

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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 

Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact

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 Festival 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 2030 (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. [insert Reading 2019 report]

How you can help

These pages set out how you can get involved to help us achieve our goals and take action on climate change.

Single Use Plastic

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

·       We have banned the use of single-use plastic cutlery and non-compostable serve ware since 2009

·       All soft drinks and bottled water sold are made from at least 50% recycled plastic

·       Please bring a refillable bottle with you to refill at the arena water stations

Low Carbon Travel

Low Carbon Travel

Travelling to the festival makes up at least 80% of a festivals carbon footprint (source: The Show Must Go On Report, 2020). You could travel by lower carbon forms of travel such as coach, train with direct shuttle buses to the festival or carshare to help reduce this. See our travel page for all options here.

Big Green Coach

Big Green Coach are back as Official Travel Partner to Reading 2023 and this year, all services are carbon neutral.

Travelling by coach emits less carbon than travelling car.

Coach travel is between 4 to 6 times more environmentally friendly than taking a car to a festival. [moved to top from bottom]

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!

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.

For those who do travel by car we donate £1 to Trees for Cities to donate to local tree planting projects.


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:

We have Recycling Stations in the campsite where you can recycle just like you do at home – with separate pods for recycling and non recycling.

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).

For anything else. There should be minimal left that is not recyclable.

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

Cup & Bottle Deposits

Every cup and bottle sold in the arena has a 10p deposit included in the price. Collect 10 and take them to our cup recycling stations for some cold hard cash.

Minimum deposit return = £1.

There is also a reverse vending machine in the Co-op store for any bottles bought there, many more prizes are to be won.


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.


We have committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.  Most of our on-site emissions come from how we power the festival. This year we are powering 100% of the festival with biofuel – which is a form of renewable fuel that reduces emissions between 75 – 90% compared to the regular fuel that powers events.  We are also looking into how to make Reading Festival fully electric in future. Click here for more

Water Refills

Please bring your refillable bottles to refill at the taps provided.

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

Recycling Rewards

Pick up a recycling bag and fill it with your used cans and bottles.

We are working with the Eco Warriorz this year are giving out prizes for tidy camps – look out for them and take your full bags to the recycling points and you could win tickets to next year, merch or a £100 Co-op voucher! – APPLY HERE

Tents and Camping Equipment

Say no to single-use and reuse your tent. Buy a durable tent that you can use again each year, it will save you money in the long run – see our ultimate guide to buying a tent here 

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. See our essential packing guide here

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.

Did you know that tents are the equivalent of 8,750 plastic straws, or 250 pint cups. Say no to single use, take your tent home!

The reality is that abandoned tents end up in the landfill because it is impossible to recycle or reuse them. If you have any broken tents chairs, gazebos, empty batteries, unopened tins of food after the festival, please take them to the Recycling Points.


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.

What’s your carbon ‘food’print?

Food related emissions make up to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.  In a new sustainability initiative, the clever people at London School of Economics have calculated the carbon footprint of the food sold at the festival.  Each menu has a simple three level carbon footprint rating so you can see the impact of the food options and make a positive choice!

Youth Climate Justice Activists

This year we will be joined again by the incredibly passionate Youth Climate Justice Activists made up of some of the main youth climate justice groups in the country, who have joined together to come and speak to you about the climate crisis. They will be talking about their campaigns, their experiences and what you can do to get involved and putting on a great show live from the top of a double decker bus with their own special guests, and DJs.