Party with the Planet, not against it.
The B-Alternative team had the most awesome summer in 2018. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with two established festivals across a total of ten separate events day.
We love our festivals. The long summer nights enjoying all of our favourite things. The music, the food, the atmosphere, what’s not to love?
Well, the waste unfortunately. If you’ve ever lingered at the end of a festival or seen the grounds the following morning, you’ll know what we’re talking about. It’s hard not to notice the sheer volume of waste left behind and the sad truth is that most of that waste goes straight to landfill.
Summer festivals are being urged to clean up their act as recycling experts warn they create “quagmires of rubbish” totalling more than 10,000 tonnes a year. Abandoned tents, coffee cups, food containers and other objects are being sent to landfill sites or incinerated.
Being a solutions orientated team, we knew we could find a better way to do things. With a little putting together of heads our Waste Management Department was born and the Bin Fairies came into existence.
The Nightjar Festival was held in Torquay, on each Thursday night in January, before moving on to Geelong for each Friday night throughout February. The final results from the Nightjar festival speak for themselves. What a huge success!
This success is due to implementing a variety of waste management solutions. Our intention was to educate the patrons, control the waste at the festival and ensure that the waste was not contaminated. Working closely with our waste recovery partners also means that we get to see exactly where each truck goes and how the waste is processed. Our aim for this festival was to divert as much waste a possible away from landfill and to focus heavily on compostable solutions.
The Bin Fairies were positioned at each waste station to educate festival goers on which bin they should be using and why. Making sure that the right kinds of rubbish were going into the right bins every time meant significantly less contamination. The Bin Fairies had some great conversations and where a huge hit with the general public. We found that people were often unsure of which bin to use and genuinely appreciated the assistance. We think the fairy wings helped too!
Being a plastic free event meant that all food and beverages were provided in compostable or recyclable packaging. We spoke to each vendor about the packaging they were using and were happy to provide advice and compostable alternatives when needed. The success wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of all involved and we’re so glad the vendors were happy to jump onboard.
At the B-Alternative market stall Rent-a-Kits were available for people to buy or hire and use at the food and drink stalls.
These handy kits are made from rice husks, which is a by product of the rice industry in China. This material looks and feels very similar to plastic but is both biodegradable and compostable. Our Rent-a-kits have gone on to accompany their new owners as they travel the country on camping trips and adventures alike.
This is a huge overall percentage being diverted from landfill and repurposed back to the earth.
In March we teamed up with The Drop Festival held at both the Quiksilver Pro, Tweed Heads and the Rip Curl Pro in Torquay.
Results 2018 (average)
The Drop Festival in Tweed Heads had zero capacity for compost as it’s just beginning it’s move towards becoming a more sustainable festival. We’re happy to have cut the amount of waste going to landfill by half in our first collaboration with them. There’s lots of work still to do, but every bit helps!
To see the more details on the results, click here.
Now that China is refusing to take much of our recycling, there’s an opportunity to turn towards commercial composting as a very real and sustainable solution. We are working with some great commercial composting facilities and are hopeful about how the future of waste management will look and how we can play our part.
We’re excited about providing solutions that ensure the waste management of future festivals is done in the most environmentally conscious way. We are committed to providing events both large and small, with more sustainable waste management solutions.
For more information on how we can help make your event a party with the planet, contact us by clicking here.
Words by Stephanie Smilas Charles