How Green?


The Green Gathering Sustainability Policy

All contractors, volunteers and directors undertake to respect people, animals and the environment in the production of the festival. Waste, destruction, pollution, fossil fuel use and feeding corporate profits are to be minimised in the production of the festival.

All activities undertaken by The Green Gathering – the charity and its production company – aim to promote environmental sustainability, ecological awareness, biodiversity, human rights, and appropriate education, technology and communication.


Implementing the Policy

Electrical Power & Lighting

Policy: Power used at the festival to be derived from renewable source


  • Almost all of our on-site electrical requirements are met by solar-generation
  • A small amount of our on-site electrical requirements may be wind- or pedal-generated, or stored in batteries charged whilst driving to the event this includes all venues, traders, workshops, lighting, on-site offices, water pump, and charging of mobility vehicles
  • A soft-start water pump was bought in 2016 to reduce load on solar power providers
  • All on-site festoon and stage lighting is LED
  • No generators – diesel, petrol or bio-fuel – are used

Heating and Cooking

Policy: Energy for heating and cooking to be derived from sustainable sources where possible.


  • Our showers and saunas are wood-fired, using approximately 50% scrap wood and offcuts sourced locally. Our caterers mainly use bottled gas; in 2016 three of our caterers were wood-fired, we had an interactive showcase of working solar ovens, and held workshops in building and using fuel-efficient stoves.
  • We provide communal fires for warmth in the evenings, again using approximately 50% scrap wood and offcuts sourced locally; this prevents lots of individual fires being lit, without imposing a total ban which would cause a loss of valuable community-building


Policy: Crew, artists and public should be encouraged to minimise emissions to the environment in their travel choices. On site journeys should be minimised when possible and fuel efficient driving methods adhered to.


  • We encourage car-sharing via Go Car Share
  • We charge for vehicle passes, encouraging car-sharing and public transport use
  • We provide detailed info about public transport to the festival
  • We arrange a guided cycle ride to the event from Bristol (with incentives)
  • We limit the number of live-in vehicle passes available
  • We offer affordable hire options of tipis, yurts, bell tents and Camplight recycled tents – making it easier for people to travel by public transport or bicycle without heavy loads
  • We provide a shuttle mini bus with trailer from our off-site car-park to the main event site; only essential vehicles ever drive onto the site, and movement of those essential vehicles once on site is strictly limited
  • We arrange deliveries of locally produced bread, veg, milk and eggs so traders don’t need to drive off site for these and food-miles remain low; we also arrange delivery of bottled gas and dried staple foodstuffs to avoid multiple trips off site
  • We provide cargo-trike transport to and from venues for performers’ equipment


Policy: Local and affordable 100% meat and fish free food and ethically/sustainably sourced fair trade products such as beverages. Strict rules for minimising disposable waste and fully compostable system.


  • We ask all caterers to use our suppliers
  • Our bread is from a local bakery, baked fresh and delivered to site daily, high % is organic
  • Our milk and eggs are organic, from a local farm (G & R Morgan), delivered to site daily
  • Our veg is delivered twice during the festival, by Four Seasons Organic, a small Bristol-based family-run company which uses local growers where possible (Bristol is 18 miles away)
  • Dried foods are delivered pre-event by Essential Trading, a Bristol-based wholefood co-op
  • Organic caterers are given priority in the application process, as are those with a commitment to using local produce and those using re-useable cups
  • We don’t accept traders who sell meat or fish
  • We always have some 100% vegan food stalls, and most stalls offer vegan options
  • All food waste is composted on site
  • We have strict trading conditions for caterers; trading conditions ‘bonds’ may be retained if conditions are broken: no polystyrene or disposable plastic containers or bottles; no non-organic canned drinks; no palm oil (unless certified sustainable); no GM ingredients; no Coca-Cola or Nestle products; no one-portion condiment sachets; use only organic milk and free-range eggs; use only Fair Trade coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and bananas; cleaning products must be biodegradable; avoid products made by large multinational corporations
  • A Green Gathering Ethical Trader award scheme encourages caterers and other traders to consider their environmental impact and to aim high
  • We hold workshops on vegan baking, ethical cooking, avoiding food waste, foraging, permaculture systems of food-growing, low-energy cooking (eg rocket stoves, solar ovens), preserving and composting
  • We invite food waste groups such as Bristol Skipchen / the Real Junk Food Project to the event to raise awareness
  • We run a donation based crockery-hire-and-washing service – Crock ‘n’ Rock – to reduce use of disposable serve-ware (trialled 2015, expanded 2016, to be expanded again 2017)


Policy: Alcohol sourced from local producers and/or sustainable sources and served in reusable containers.


  • Our bars sell ciders and beers from small producers based in mostly in Wales, Somerset and Gloucester (Salisbury is the furthest we source from); organic wines and spirits; elderflower champagne; and locally produced soft drinks such as apple juice, elderflower cordial and ginger beer
  • Our bars do not sell bottled water or soft drinks in disposable containers
  • Our bars only use sturdy re-useable glasses, with deposits to encourage their return
  • Our cocktail bar uses compostable paper straws and edible decorations

Re-use, Recycling & Waste

Policy: The use of disposable items and production of waste is discouraged and minimised by promotion of reuse, up-cycling and repair. Genuine waste is composted or recycled where possible and education is provided on recycling categories and minimising waste to landfill.


  • We have multiple sets of highly visible and educational recycling bins, where waste is separated into 12 different categories and Greensweep, our recycling team, hand separates any waste that gets mixed up, and is available to explain the different categories of waste
  • Up-cycling workshops creatively re-use waste on site
  • As mentioned in ‘food’, all food waste is composted on site
  • Recycling rate 62% in 2014; similar in 2015; down to 48% in 2016 due to landfill waste being dumped in our recycling skip while it was off site waiting to be collected by our waste contractors (otherwise would’ve been c. 70%)
  • We have gradually increased our proportion of compost toilets and in 2016 achieved >60% compost toilets, of which a quarter are permanently erected on site and the waste is composted in situ, while the remainder are provided by Natural Event which composts the waste in Somerset
  • Camplight demonstrate the importance and possibilities of saving, reusing, repairing and upcycling camping gear
  • We include workshops such as ‘Make Do and Mend’ or a ‘Repair Cafe’, a free shop and swap shop
  • We discourage use of disposable items such as hazard tape, gaffer tape and single-use cable ties; site crew use reusable cable ties wherever practicable.

Educational Aspects

Policy: To encourage positivity, communication, offer information and knowledge across the festival and through social media to stimulate and inspire current and future generations of responsible beings.


  • Many of the talks in our Speakers’ Forum and workshops in the Kids, Campaigns, Permaculture, Crafts and Earth Energies areas are geared to informing and inspiring festival-goers to engage positively with environmental, sustainability and climate change issues
  • The event as a whole is a showcase of what can be done with renewable energy and low impact alternatives
  • Several workshops each year are specifically geared to practical skill-sharing in renewable technologies and low impact alternatives, with all ages and skill levels catered for
  • Our publicity, website etc also carry these messages
  • The Green Gathering Charity has a mission to reach out beyond the annual August festival and bring the wealth of expertise in our community to a wider audience
  • In 2016 the GG Charity ran the Crock ‘n’ Rock service, funded a Radical Youth Space and improved Assisted Access facilities at the GG festival.
  • The Charity also supported a ‘Celebration of Sustainable Futures’ event in rural Carmarthenshire


Policy: To act ethically and sustainably in all we do

A Few Examples of Implementation:

  • We bank with Unity Trust Bank (promotes a socially responsible and sustainable approach to banking)
  • We use Co-opportunity (a workers’ co-op) as our accountants
  • We network and work with other organisations to promote ethical and sustainable messages; to this end we have joined A Greener Festival, contribute to events such as the Green Events and Innovations conference, and have signed up to and spread the message of Yourope’s Take A Stand initiative

Areas identified to improve upon

  • Off site car park lighting (belongs to Chepstow race course, used by festival) could be LED and solar-powered (currently car park uses diesel-powered tower lights, the only diesel power utilised by the festival)
  • Fuel miles – customer, crew, traders and artists’ travel – could be reduced
  • Food sourcing is good but still room for improvement
  • Reduce waste of all kinds
  • Increase reuse and compost more
  • Ensure recyclables are recycled
  • Information, education and encouragement

Barriers to improvement

  • Costs
  • Customer & crew habits/expectations
  • Supply lines
  • Site geography

Solutions to work towards

  • continue to build on current financial sustainability through careful budgeting, good marketing and provision of a great event
  • prioritise environmental sustainability when budgeting
  • encourage the Green Gathering Charity to raise funds and invest in sustainability solutions for the Gathering
  • raise awareness about the impacts of car travel, encourage further car-sharing and public transport use via social media, website
  • prioritise crew, traders and artists who don’t need to make long vehicle journeys, clarify guidelines regarding restriction of free vehicle passes for crew, artists and traders
  • discourage traders and crew from making unnecessary local vehicle journeys, and if/when financially viable, provide free or inexpensive shuttle buses from Chepstow and Bristol
  • request local bakery goods supplier to provide additional organic options
  • remind traders of trading conditions on arrival
  • increase proportion of organic, local and seasonal produce in crew catering & increase vegan ale provision
  • expand the Crock ‘n’ Rock service
  • charge extra £50 to caterers using disposable serve-ware and use this to fund Crock ‘n’ Rock
  • ensure recycling skips are covered and labelled while waiting for pick up
  • book recycling crew to stay longer so last litter-picks are thoroughly sorted for recycling
  • improve signage and layout of recycling containers to make sorting easier for customers
  • further increase % of compost toilets
  • include educational material and info about what happens to the waste after it leaves site
  • include more practical workshops, skill-shares and showcases specifically geared to renewable technology, waste reduction and low impact alternatives


We are working towards better measuring in the following areas:

  • Crew, artists and traders travel
  • Audience travel
  • Fuel ‘saved’ by not using generators
  • Water and sewage

We’d also like to know how much environmental impact festival-goers are having while at the festival compared with being at home/work, and more on how The Green Gathering has a lasting effect on festival-goers’ behaviour such that environmental impact is reduced in the future; while these things may be tricky to quantify, we do have anecdotal evidence of behaviour change. If you can contribute to evidence gathering on this aspect, please contact


This is a living document…


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