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Zero Waste Festival Guide

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With music festival season upon us, thousands are flocking to Indio for Coachella and Stagecoach as well as many other festivals around the country. Navigating how to be as sustainable as possible while enjoying these festivals just takes a few steps to plan ahead so you can reduce your waste, protect the environment, and save a little money too. Here are a few tips to plan for a sustainable festival season:

Getting There

If you’re planning on attending a festival with your friends, start by organizing a carpool! Everyone can agree on a rendezvous spot and ride together, rather than meet up at the festival in separate cars. This saves a lot of money from parking fees and logistical headaches at the festival as well. Look for carpool incentives at upcoming festivals.

What To Wear

Where possible, avoid opting for fast fashion choices. It’s best to buy clothing, shoes and accessories second hand or organize a clothing swap with your friends. You can join us for one of our clothing swaps hosted by ILACSD staff! Our clothing swaps are a wonderful opportunity to engage in recycling, circular economy, find new pieces, and meet like minded community members. 

Enjoying the Festival

During long festival days, it’s important to stay hydrated. Bringing a reusable water bottle or hydration pack saves money and avoids single-use plastics. Buying individual water bottles is not only wasteful for the environment, it also means waiting in long lines to buy water and spending a lot on marked up bottle prices. It’s best to plan ahead and bring reusables to refill at the water refill stations around the festival grounds. 


We recommend planning ahead if you’re camping. Many festival websites have a sustainability page you can reference for ideas. Using reusable plastic or aluminum glassware, as well as reusable utensils and plates are a great option. All-in-one utensils work really well to avoid having to wash utensils while camping, including opting for reusable cloth napkins. Planning meals out in advance helps avoid using utensils or plates altogether to make cleanup easy and waste-free. For food, pre-slicing fruits and veggies at home, opting for handheld foods like hotdogs and sandwiches, and utilizing items with very minimal packaging saves time and minimizes waste. It can be tempting to bring prepackaged and individually wrapped meals, such as mini chip bags. Instead, choose homemade guacamole in a tupperware, homemade muffins, bulk snack foods in reusable bags, and other more zero waste choices.

More Tips

Set up your campsite to make it easy on those with less knowledge of recycling and composting. A good tip is to set up bags for trash, a bin for food scraps, and a bag for recycling. For more recycling tips, visit or call our hotline at 1-800-237-BLUE (1-800-237-2583) for incorporated residents and 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784) for unincorporated residents.