Waste Management

The key aim of any waste management system should fit with the general principles of reduce, re-use, re-cycle before the final option of landfill.

Any festival will produce a range of waste products through the general management and running of the event.

General Recycling

As landfill charges increase, it will become more and more economical as well as more sustainable to recycle. Check out what your local prices are per tonne at the moment, it is already cheaper to recycle some items than to dump them.

You should ensure that you have recycling facilities for the public, direct Festival waste and any contractors/stand holders’ waste.

The type of system you use will depend on the types and numbers of venues you have. However, a mixture of small bins distributed around the site and central large storage depot is normally most efficient.

You will need to identify a team to collect, empty and sort the waste that will pile up very quickly if it is not efficiently managed. As it is not the most attractive of jobs, ensure you rotate people round the worst jobs, pay reasonable wages and show your appreciation.

Having someone to sort the waste before it is put in the main skips will vastly increase the amount recycled. This applies even if you have separate bins on site; it is very easy for one person to contaminate a whole bin worth of sorted waste.

You should minimise the numbers of times waste/skip lorries come to the site both for cost, fuel, vehicle movement and noise reduction purposes. You should therefore try to maximise use of the skips by crushing boxes and plastic for example.

Cardboard is often one of the largest areas of waste production. You may be able to justify renting/buying a cardboard baling machine that will maximise available space. You could consider joining forces with other local Festivals/businesses to maximise the use of a baling machine.

Waste Disposal at Festivals

Reducing Waste

Place a limit/moratorium on any leaflets distributed by other organisations/companies who have stands on/at your venue. Include an explicit, added financial charge for recycling if leafleting is agreed, this helps both to cover your costs and may lead to a re-think by the organisation/company.

Place programme/leaflet recycle points at venue exits for people who are leaving and no longer require their programme – ensure you check for quality before re-issuing.

Make sure that you have appropriate paper recycling bins available for programmes no longer useable.

Electric buggies now come in all shapes and sizes including ones with flat bed loading platforms, with or without sides. They have proved there value here As they are very quiet they are ideal for using where vehicle noise would interrupt performances and if you have a green electricity supply, they are carbon minimal.

If you are based in Wales and looking for help with your recycling and waste management then you should contact Cylch. This Wales Community Recycling Network was established in 1997 to promote sustainable resource management through education and practical action. They aim:

  1. To develop the national network of community recycling organisations
  2. To provide quality support services for Members
  3. To position the community recycling sector as an essential partner in the future of resource management in Wales
  4. To lead by example.

Check out their website and recycling guide.

Related Links

Waste Environment Agency – www.environment-agency.gov.uk
Cylch – www.cylch.org
WRAP – www.wrap.org.uk