Wander Without Waste: A Greener Festival

Learn how you can participate in our efforts to walk the walk this festival season.

I thought that seeing Bob Dylan—the self-proclaimed poet laureate of rock and roll—would be the pinnacle of my concert-going life. The fact that I was seeing him perform at Bethel Woods, New York—where the original Woodstock Festival was held—well, that pretty much just put expectation over the top. For a girl who grew up listening to him on vinyl in the basement of her Ohio home, seeing him play where it all began was an opportunity to bask in the peace-loving, Earth-protecting, hippie glory of cross-generational music appreciation.

What I got instead was serious disenchantment and disappointment.

Dylan was fine—great, even. But as it started to drizzle and folks began to pack up and leave, my boyfriend and I found ourselves drifting in a sea of plastic. Plastic bottles. Plastic forks from waylaid picnics. Plastic wrappers. Plastic straws. Plastic everywhere, despite the ample recycling bins at all exits.

We’ve all be there: At an event in which mindful practices or belief systems are touted (whether overtly, like Burning Man, or quietly, like a Bob Dylan concert) and then not respected. It’s disjointing and disheartening. After all, if attendees to a mindful event can’t be environmentally responsible, how can we expect anyone else to be?

Wanderlust became a B Corporation this year, and a big part of that is practicing what we preach. It’s one reason we’re rolling out our Wander Without Waste initiative at our festivals this year—because no one should ever feel as disappointed as I did at that Dylan concert. According to Claire Bourgeois, a founding member of the Wanderlust Green Team who’s heading up the initiative, Wander Without Waste is “a platform for all our attendees, staff, and talent to work together to take personal and corporate ownership of our impact on the natural world. I am so excited to take the next step with the Wanderlust community in dissolving the line between personal wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our planet.”

Claire believes that going the extra personal mile can actually have far-reaching positive outcomes. “It’s amazing what one choice can make,” she says. “I’ve see it in the smallest choices I make! It sets off a ripple effect both within, and without, of inspired and environmentally conscious action.”

So what can you do this year to help us do right by Mother Earth? Let us count the ways.

Sort your trash appropriately.

We diverted 70 percent of ALL waste generated at our events in 2017. Let that sink in! Less than one-third of all waste generated at our events—attended by more than 100,000 people in North America alone—ended up in landfills.  This is made possible by our commitment to three stream recycling. We provide compost, recycling, and landfill disposal at all festivals and 108s, pending site availability. 

You don’t need to worry too much about mis-sorting your utensils, though: Starting for the 2018 season, we require that all food vendors use compostable service-ware. You also won’t find any plastic straws anywhere on-site—we offer only paper or recyclable straws so you can sip in good conscience.

Make responsible choices.

Whatever you choose to put into your body, let it be chosen with care. If you choose to eat meat, consider how it’s raised, and the environmental impact raising animals can have. While we serve meat at our events, we give priority to vegan and vegetarian vendors. Our exclusive Wanderbowl—served at all events—is available in both vegan and vegetarian options. (We’re proud to announce that at Wanderlust Snowshoe this year, all vegetables used to make the Wanderbowl are sourced from a local farm co-op!) Want more farm-to-table? Join your fellow yogis at our farm-to-table dinner at any of our summer festivals.

What we eat isn’t the only mindful decision we can make when it comes to doing right by the planet—we also have the opportunity to make intentional choices when it comes to the clothes we buy and the products we use. Wanderlust private label apparel items are made with either organic threads, recycled polyester, or a blend of the two. They are dyed and printed with vegan, water-based colors. All products are made and produced in LA, with the actual production cycle of these items happening in a 10 mile radius from start to finish. Our 2018 adidas x Wanderlust spring line is made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic™ upcycled materials.

According to Claire, making these choices can be helpful to help see ourselves as part of a bigger system. “I realized that the more I began to take actions with the planet in mind, the more connected I felt to our natural world. I realized the Earth is not something that can be healed independent of the humans who live on it,” she says. “Nature is not ‘the other.'”

Get involved.

Getting to Wanderlust is a great way to start getting involved! Take this opportunity to carpool with a friend, or take advantage of proprietary Lyft pick-up and drop-off areas on-site. Go a step further and make a small donation to Trees, Water, & People as a carbon offset when you purchase your ticket.

If you’re attending one of our 108s, keep an eye out for a booth featuring a local environmental organization, or a local chapter of a national org. We’re offering one complimentary spot at every 108 site for such a group, in order to promote education and involvement. You can also participate in on-site activations where applicable—at Wanderlust O’ahu, each year, for example, we partner with Sustainable Coastlines for a beach clean-up on the North Shore.

Purchase a kit to commit long-term!

Ready to be a beacon of environmental stewardship and wander without waste through your everyday life? Take home a Wander Without Waste kit, available for purchase at the adidas x Wanderlust Store at any of our summer festivals. The kit includes reusable bamboo utensils, a Kleen Kanteen Tumblr, and a Kleen Kanteen Thermos—all in a super cute tote bag. We’re proud also to provide all of our staff and event talent with a kit, so we’re truly walking the walk: How can we ask others to participate if we’re not committed to making big changes internally as well?

Heads up: NO PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES will be available for purchase at any of our events going forward. Be sure to pack your own bottle, or you can purchase one on-site. Water filling stations are available at all events in the US and Canada.

Claire looks to the Wander Without Waste kit as a beacon of a company she’s proud to work for. “It’s another inspiring reminder that I work with a team that is shifting the paradigm of corporate action and responsibility,” she says. When asked why she’s spearheading these efforts, Heather Story, SVP of Events, says simply “because it’s really important to my staff and the planet.”

We’re betting that our attendees think it’s just simply important as well. There’s nothing too complicated about right decisions.

Lisette Cheresson is a writer, storyteller, yoga teacher, and adventuress who is an avid vagabond, homechef, dirt-collector, and dreamer. When she’s not playing with words, it’s a safe bet that she’s either hopping a plane, dancing, cooking, or hiking. She received her Level II Reiki Attunement and attended a 4-day intensive discourse with the Dalai Lama in India, and received her RYT200 in Brooklyn. She is currently the Director of Content at Wanderlust Festival. You can find her on Instagram @lisetteileen.