Sustainability – Hay on Earth

Welcome to Hay on Earth – Hay Festival’s sustainability programme. Sustainability is core to the Festival, both in on-stage debates and in the development of the organisation.

For the last twelve years, Hay Festival has engaged in a programme of managing and mitigating its environmental impact through Hay on Earth.

Hay Festival sign in the sun
Trees on Hay Festival site


Hay on Earth programmes a sustainability-focused series of events throughout the 11 days of Hay Festival in Wales, exploring current issues, new developments and technical advances. Hay Player ensures access to Hay on Earth debates and events throughout the year on audio and film.


Hay Festival has developed a programme of managing and mitigating the environmental impact of creating a live festival with the focus on energy, waste, transport, procurement and venues. In 2017, achievements over the previous year were in printed materials (down by 5%) and diesel (down by 15%). The recycling 82% of waste produced on site included 6.9 tonnes of cardboard and paper, 1 tonne of plastic and cans, 6.4 tonnes of glass and 300 litres of cooking oil for biodiesel use. Ten tonnes of food and other materials were composted. The mains electricity supplier for the Festival site is Good Energy, providing 100% renewable energy.

The biggest impact on the environment is travel. Hay Festival has worked hard to reduce this by providing public buses from the nearest train station in Hereford running up to ten times a day. It also provides minibuses that link Festival-goers with local B&Bs and surrounding villages and towns. There is a free electric car re-charging point at our park and ride car park at Clyro Court.

If you are coming by car, please think about offsetting emissions with our partners, Energy Revolution (, a collaboration between festivals and festival-goers.

Water standpipes are available across the site so that the audience can fill their own drinking bottles.

Hay Festival has switched to reusable beer and wine ‘glasses’ and is the first festival to trial a new, reusable, hot drink cup system. There is a small charge at the bars and restaurants which goes towards the increased costs. Alternatively, bring your own cup and get a discount off your hot drinks at Coffee Cart outlets.

Social Impact

Hay on Earth also considers the social and financial impacts of running the Festival. These include working with partners at the Woodland Trust and the National Trust to plant 30 acres of woodland, providing free tickets for students in tertiary education, supporting the local community through the free loan of its thermal imaging camera for building insulation assessments, and providing funding to maintain opening hours for Hay Town Library.

Hay Festival continues to develop ideas and practice in sustainability and believes that debate increases awareness, and good practice increases change in the local communities, in business and in society. Hay Festival is actively looking for organisations, public bodies and individuals who can help us achieve these objectives. Please contact