Before I begin, let me preface this list with an obvious admission: nobody’s perfect. But when it comes to the environment, we can all certainly try our best. It’s not only a matter of respecting the land. It’s also about respecting ourselves, each other, and the original custodians who are often gracious enough to allow us to doof in these (sometimes sacred) spaces.
So here are 10 of the easiest and most practical ways we can work better to clean up after ourselves and help improve our doof scene’s important relationship to nature…
- Remove packaging before packing
Stripping everything naked is a great idea before loading your car. The more you leave at home, the less you bring to the festival and the less likely you are to leave loads of crap lying around when you get there. A good idea, for example, is to open up your slab and 6-pack boxes, take out all the beers, and dispose of all the packaging and plastic immediately. Then just stack all your drinks neatly in cardboard boxes. At the end of the festival, you can put your bags of rubbish in these boxes. Any extra boxes you may have, just flat-pack and lay them down on the bottom of your boot. An added bonus is that this protects your car from nasty garbage spillages!
- Bring your own ashtray
If you don’t do darts, disregard this point. But for the rest of you, it’s a biggie. I’m not saying to hang an antique glass ashtray from your belt. But at least bring some sort of vessel with you in which you can dispose of your butts. I have a mate who uses empty film canisters (because they lock in the smell), while others I know have used plastic zip-lock bags or specialised pocket ashtrays. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone just throw their butt onto the ground, or worse, into the bushes where it could potentially cause a bushfire.
- Follow the CAYG policy
Back when I was 16, I worked at Macca’s. I was a terrible fry girl and even worse on drive-through, but I did learn something worthwhile in that turbulent year: the CAYG (Clean As You Go) policy. It’s such a rank feeling on the last day of a doof, knowing you need to clean up your campsite after days of letting it go to trash. This is why you’ll want to kiss yourself if you simply clean up as you go. A super easy way to do this is to tie rubbish and recycling bags to your camp poles, chairs or marquee. The easy access to disposal solutions makes it easier for both you and your mates to periodically toss your waste in the trash (and keep your campsite looking spic n’ span.)
- Invest in a great tent and love it
I don’t quite understand why some people leave their tents in shambles at the end of a doof. It’s pretty disgraceful, though I’m sure there are reasons, no matter how misguided those reasons may be. But here’s an alternative: spend a bit more dosh on a high-quality tent and actually take care of it. You’ll spend less money in the long-run buying cheap disposable tents, enjoy swankier sleeping quarters and avoid causing people to swear in disbelief as they drive out on the last day. Wins all ‘round!
- Avoid MOOP-y outfits
Glitter. Feather boas. Stick-on gems. Malting fur coats. They can all look bad-ass, yes. But do they spell out environmental disaster? In large quantities, almost undoubtedly, yes. All these little accessories create MOOP (matter-out-of-place) that can harm our wildlife and reap other forms of destruction in nature. A simple way to solve this problem is to avoid wearing these kinds of serial mess-creating outfits. If they leave bits and bobs around your house or in your car, they’ll do the same at a doof. Besides, there are so many ways to look funky and fab without becoming an inadvertent litterbug!
- Keep a bin bag in your bum-bag
So your campsite’s pristine and you’re dressed to the nines. Time to go party! But then, you get to the stage, imbibe more than a few drinks and…uh oh, you’re now leaving a trail of destruction where’er you go. It happens to the best of us. Especially in the midst of a crazy-good set and general hilarity with friends. But there’s a way to mitigate this. Stash a bag on your persons, and whip it out whenever someone needs to get rid of something. It could be an empty can, a styrofoam tray of half-eaten chips or any other miscellaneous (ahem, balloon-related) item. Or you can temporarily tie it to a tree for other folks to use, too. Be the hero who cares!
There’s an abundance of other actions you can implement, like helping others to clean up at the end of a set, using eco-friendly shower products, crushing your cans before disposal and holding your more irreverent mates to account.
But really, it all comes down to loving and respecting the land that carries us. If your environmentalist behaviour is born of your authentic values, it’s likely to be more sustainable for you and more inspiring to others. It’s not about finger wagging. It’s about motivating each other to do the best that we can.
I bet you have awesome ideas of your own! If you feel so inclined, please share them in the comments so we can all learn from another and keep our doof scene as clean, beautiful and respectful as possible.