Top 10 things you can do:
1. Recycle, recycle, recycle!!
2. Keep tidy. Don’t leave rubbish or equipment
3. Reduce all disposable plastic use
4. Bring your own water bottle and refill onsite
5. Bring your own reusable coffee cup
6. Use water wisely
7. Cycle or walk
8. Use public transport or coaches
9. Car share either with friends, or with GoCarShare or Liftshare. Sign up now if you have space or want to share
10. Carbon balance the emissions from your journey to the festival through the charity ecolibrium 
Download information on recycling at the Festival here
Thank you for all you do! Help us continue to achieve our excellent performance and benefit the planet.
Cambridge Folk Festival and the Environment in 2022 in a snapshot... the following is a quick guide to how we fared in 2022 from an envrionment viewpoint:
  • In 2022 CFF won Outstanding in the A Greener Festival awards
  • CFF is also shortlisted for the UK Festival Awards 2022 for green festivals
  • CFF included in case study in the updated The Show Must Go On 2021 – a Vision 2025 festival think tank guide on sustainability in festivals
  •  Our carbon emissions for fuel reduced by over 98% by switching to Green D for areas that we have to use generators and for onsite vehicles and plant
  • Where powered through electricity mains grid 100% renewable energy tariff
  • Waste totals 0.3 kg/person/day compared to industry benchmark of 2 kg/person/day
  • No single use plastics sold on site
  • Audience encouraged to bring own coffee cup (LW comment: recommend banning single use coffee cups for 2023)
  • Increased donations by caterers of surplus food to Cambridge Community Lunches and CHYPPS
  • Stage carpet donations to Cambridge Theatretrain
  • Carbon balancing our carbon emissions through tree planting with Festival Wood/Trees for Life in https://treesforlife.org.uk/groves/g6419/Scotland including Scots pine, willow, rowan, birch, hazel, alder, holly, aspen and bird cherry.
We are delighted to continue being recognised for our efforts and in 2022 achieved an 'Outstanding' award from A Greener Festival and in 2022 were shortlisted for the UK Festival Awards for Green Festivals. We work hard to improve our performance and work with everyone involved to enhance the Festival experience in a planet positive way.
The A Greener Festival award recognises that the festival has effective environmental policies and practices for traffic and transport, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and recycling, water conservation, noise pollution, ethical policies, environmental protection and carbon footprint measuring and monitoring.
The festival was also included in case study in the updated The Show Must Go On 2021 – a Vision 2025 festival think tank guide on sustainability in festivals and included in various publications highlighting our work, including the influential event industry think tank Powerful Thinking guide Smart Energy for Festivals and Events 2017. We are also included in the Energy Revolution - Guide to Sustainable Travel 2018.
We continue to embrace the Festival Vision:2025 pledge for targeted improvements in line with global climate change commitments.
Greening the travel
Did you know audience travel accounts for over 80% of our carbon footprint? We want you all here and to have a good time as it wouldn’t work without you!
How can we reduce it?
  • Coaches National Express offer cheap tickets from all over the UK. www.nationalexpress.com/en
  • Car Share Less cars = less carbon, pollution, congestion, noise and local impacts. We partner with GoCarShare and LiftShare so sign up now if you’ve got space in your car or want to find a lift. You can save money and have a great conscience.
  • Keep it Healthy If you’re local then cycle or walk! We have cycle racks opposite the main gate.
  • Carbon Balance. Balance your travel emissions through investing in renewable energy with the charity ecolibrium.

Fill out your transport details in the after-event questionnaire to help us track the emissions better and consider more ways to reduce it.

Cut the Rubbish

Bring less, produce less and recycle more.

  • Last year total waste reduced by 16% – well done! This was helped by our water refill campaign to cut plastic so thank you.
  • Our onsite recycling rate last year was 44% over the sites. We achieved 50% at Coldham’s Common. Let’s target 50% overall for this year and increase every year! You’re doing great let’s go for more.
  • Let’s continue the war on plastic. Water taps are sited around the arena and campsites. Bring your own refillable bottles.
  • This year we are promoting GigSwig – a campaign to remove single use plastic bottles backstage.
  • We’ve banned single use plastic glasses since 2008 and have a reusable cup deposit system.
  • We’ve banned plastic straws and stirrers onsite since 2017.
  • To help reduce coffee cups onsite bring your own reusable ones with lids
  • We ensure all bins are clearly marked: Recycling and Waste
  • Waste is separated offsite. We have the guys from the Amey waste plant and Recycle for Cambridge onsite near Friend’s of the Earth – pop over and find out what they’re up to and get your kids involved with their recycling games.
  • There are bags around the site and handed out to campers. Clear bag = Mixed Recycling, Red/black bag = Waste
  • The Festival recycles paper, newspaper, cardboard, cans, plastic bottles, cartons, metal and containers for dry mixed recycling. Download the recycling information here
  • The Waste bins are for everything else but we hope that most of the things you need to throw away are recyclable. You can put waste food in the Waste bins if you really can’t eat it all. We have tried food recycling but found the bins got too contaminated. We’ll keep thinking about that.
  • No glass bottles are allowed in the arena. There is a glass recycling point at the entrance to the arena.
  • We aim to recycle anything that can’t be used again next year. Last year our stage carpets were reused by CHYPS (Children and Young Peoples Participation Service).
  • We work with our caterers to donate any surplus food on the Monday to Cambridge Community Lunches.
  • Please leave no trace. Remember everything when you pack up to go home and bag up all rubbish and leave at recycling points. 

Powering the music

We produced 21 tonnes CO2e in 2017 onsite through power. Here are some of the ways we reduce carbon:

  • Renewable electricity tariff
  • Monitoring energy onsite
  • Photocell controls to ensure non-essential lights off during day
  • LED and low energy lights on stage and on site
  • Tower lights removed and replaced with low energy festoons
  • Use fewer and smaller high efficiency generators where green electricity not accessible
  • Switch off policy
  • No engine idling policy

Every year the Festival plants trees in Festival Wood, Scotland to balance the emissions and give something back. It is a dedicated initiative organised by A Greener Festival and Trees for Life.

Save Water

  • Taps automatically switch off to conserve water.

Contractors & Purchasing

We work closely with all our contractors to keep the Festival green. All major contractors are required to consider their own impact on the environment as part of their appointment process.
We have an Environmental Policy, impacts assessment and Green Action Plan as part of the festival management. We follow a ‘Buying Green’ guide, using products from sustainable and/or recycled sources.

Friend’s of the Earth

We are delighted to have a longstanding association with the lovely folk at Cambridge Friend’s of the Earth. Cambridge FOE provides a valued team of volunteers who assist with litter picking each day. They run a promotional stall near the Rose Garden so go and say hi and find out all the good work they’re up to.

Traders and Caterers

We run Sustainable Stand Awards for both caterers and traders looking at transport, energy, waste and purchasing ethics.

All caterers and traders complete an Environmental and Ethical Statement. Our standards also include:

  • Mandatory use of biodegradable trays, cups, lids and cutlery. No plastic permitted.
  • No plastic straws since 2017
  • Fair Trade tea, coffee and hot chocolate
  • No separate condiment sachets to avoid waste
  • Free range eggs
  • Sustainably sourced fish
  • British meat
  • No additional generators which can add to emissions, noise and pollution.
  • No plastic bags. Reusable cloth bags will be for sale at the Festival’s own merchandise stall.

Photo credit: John Scott

Broadcast and media partners