Back to: Information
Staying Green - Icon

Staying Green

Read about our environmental sustainability initiatives and how you can help

Browse All Categories

Staying Green

Climate change requires urgent action – we can no longer ignore the damaging effects we’re contributing to our planet! The recent IPCC Report on Global Warming highlights the risks and irreversible losses that would take place at 2 degrees or more warming. At a warming of 2 degrees virtually all coral reefs will be lost, sea levels will rise affecting low-level coastal regions and huge numbers of animals and plants will become extinct, we will exhaust our natural resources and will need 1.7 Earths to keep up with our current demand of consumption.

However, instead of worrying about the future, we can start making it better if we work together!

We work very closely with Julie’s Bicycle, a not-for-profit organisation working on sustainability within the creative industries, as part of their Industry Green certification. In 2017 we achieved a fantastic 4 / 5 stars and Leeds was crowned Best Festival at the Creative Green Awards 2018, thank you to everyone for participating!  You can read the full report here.

We are also proud to be one of the 70 Vision Festival’s committed to reducing our carbon emissions, read more here about the Vision Festival:2025 pledge.

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

Travel Impact

Travelling to the festival makes up 80% of the total carbon emissions generated (source: The Show Must Go On Report, 2015). You could travel by public transport or car share to help reduce this.

See the latest report here.

Waste Strategy

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 and 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. 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 Leeds 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.

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 Leeds 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 area 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 [email protected] if you have any questions.

Big Green Coach

Big Green Coach are once again the OFFICIAL and EXCLUSIVE coach travel provider to Leeds Festival 2022.

Stay tuned for more news on coach bookings.