We’d rather spend your money on music & art than waste and landfill tax!

The Recycling Exchanges have been incredibly successful over the past three years – thanks to your support and participation, they receive over 5 tonnes of recyclable waste per year and achieve double the rate of recycling compared to the campsites! If you’re one of the 3,000+ of Shambalans who use the recycling exchange, give yourself a massive pat on the back and bask in the knowledge that we think you’re totally brilliant.
‘I’m New – What is THIS and how does it work?’
  • When you buy your tickets you will be charged a one off £10 “Recycling Deposit”. You will only be charged this once regardless of how many tickets, or ticket types, you add to your booking – providing you use the same email address and Ticket Sellers account. This means you can add extra tickets to your booking at a later date without incurring additional “Recycling Deposit” charges.
  • On arrival at the festival you will be handed two bags – a green bag for mixed dry recyclables – its says on the bag what to put in – and a grey bag for ‘other waste’.
  • Put your waste in these bags before leaving the festival, and take them down to one of our two  Recycling Exchanges (during their open hours only – which are 12 – 6pm on Sunday and 8am – Midday on Monday) 
  • Sort your recycling into the correct bins at the Recycling Exchange
  • Then, either claim your £10 back or collect a limited edition festival pack instead, packed with goodies and worth £25 (while stocks last!)
  • The Recycling Exchanges are clearly signposted, and can also be found in the program map.
  • ‘Drop & Go’ option – if you are happy to bring your recycling and other waste but don’t fancy sorting it yourself, come along anyway, just drop it off and get 50% of your deposit back (e.g. a fiver, rather than a tenner). Our amazing recycling team will then do your dirty work for you.
  • It just got a whole lot easier – anyone in your ticket group can reclaim the deposit on their wristband with just a quick zap – isn’t technology wonderful.
  • The big one – we’ll be giving out tickets to Shambala 2019 to random Recycling Exchangers!


About 70% of Shambala’s waste comes from the public campsites. Too much waste which could be recycled isn’t separated and in the past has gone to landfill. Often the waste in the green bags is too contaminated ( i.e. not separated) to be recycled efficiently.

The initiative is designed to inspire everyone to take recycling into their own hands (quite literally) to achieve maximum recycling rates, make the festival site cleaner and reduce landfill costs. The site is now amazingly more clean because of this initiative! Unclaimed deposits are strictly ring-fenced for environmental projects at the festival, such as helping pay for the staffing of the recycling exchanges and increased infrastructure for recycling.


We’re delighted to announce that in 2017, we achieved an epic 25% increase on recycling rates compared to 2016 – rocketing to a total of 91% of materials either recycled, composted or used for waste to energy. Only 9% of waste ended up in landfill and we aim to make this a big, fat zero.

Importantly. we also reduced the total waste onsite by 15% overall in 2017 and, in partnership with local organisations,  sent half a tonne of edible left-over food to people who need it.


  • What if I don’t get my deposit at the festival? Please note that the deposit is only refundable on site, so if you want it back, you’ve got to get yourself down to the exchange and do your bit.
  • What if we don’t have much rubbish? You do not need to bring back a full bag – just bring what you have at the end of the weekend. Or if you see any rubbish in the campsites, bring that instead.
  • What do I need to get my deposit back? Your wristband will be zapped, you’ll be checked off the system and given your deposit or your festival pack – whichever you choose.
  • How do I get the bags? You will be given bags on arrival or you can collect them from the Public Info Tent, open 24hrs a day.
  • This is completely unfair – I don’t create any waste because I don’t bring anything with me or cook in the campsite, and so I can’t take recycling back to the Exchanges and claim my deposit back? OK, We recognise that in a (very) few instances this initiative actually penalises those who don’t create any waste  – if you bring very little with you, and don’t cook at your camp, you may not have much waste to bring back. You’re the best, and you get taxed! This is tricky one to manage, as for the vast majority, this initiative works well, and it is helping to achieve our goal of increased recycling – we can’t just say “OK” to everyone who comes to get their recycling deposit back with nothing in hand – we hope that’s understandable, though admittedly not perfect!