20151119_133607Beautiful Festivals: Managing Waste Successfully. Kambe House, Bristol, 19th November 2015

The team behind Shambala Festival, Kambe Events, hosted a workshop for industry specialists at their Bristol HQ, Kambe House, focusing on effective waste management at festivals. Bringing together attendees including Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair, Bestival, Ground Control, A Greener Festival, Showman’s Show, Nozstock and waste management suppliers / consultants from Resource Futures, Greenbox, and Wasters UK. It was a true master class and I have summarised (read: heavily condensed!) some of the key points for interested parties.

Ed Cook, Waste Management Consultant, Resource Futures, took us all back to basics with waste management fundamentals, covering the waste hierarchy and the importance of waste segregation at source, including the legal framework and processes that are in place to ensure you meet (or exceed) obligations as event organiser. The key take-home messages were to focus on understanding your waste streams, designing waste out early in the planning process, and identifying what you can achieve taking account of local and regional facilities and waste contractors capability. Follow the paper trail…waste carriers licence, waste transfer notes, weighbridge ticket…the devil is in the details! Through thorough research and clear communication with suppliers and contractors early on, festival organisers should be applying the waste hierarchy to support in decision-making throughout and provide honest and consistent waste reporting.

Rachel Lilley, Environmental Behaviour Change Consultant, Aberystwyth University, opened our eyes to the way our minds really work, the comparison between Spock and Homer Simpson will stay with me for some time…it seems we aren’t the all-seeing, rational creatures we would like to believe! Rachel gave great insight in to behaviour change and how to be a D.U.D.E (Decide, Understand, Design an experiment, Evaluate and measure) when it comes to promoting recycling behaviours with festival audiences (and crew!). Communicating a clear message, repeated a number of times…keep it simple, pick out a key objective and focus on that. Sounds easy enough, right? Humans are complex beasts at the best of times and we are yet to crack the audience waste conundrum here in the UK. Understanding what drives behaviour change is key to ensuring all the hard work in planning is well received and effective.

20151119_145510Chris Johnson, Shambala Festival Director, shared a number of case studies detailing the challenges and successes of waste management at Shambala over the years, their continued commitment to reducing waste sent to landfill and raising audience awareness is first class. Shambala is free from disposable plastics across the whole site; find out more about the Bring a Bottle campaign here.

In addition to a wealth of resources, Kambe also offered continuing support to attendees in formulating a waste management plan for their respective events, and have a programme of workshops to be announced in the near future, including a visit to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or “murf”) to see first-hand how waste is processed once it leaves site. Workshops like these are a great opportunity to expand on and share existing knowledge, with so much expertise in the room and a real passion and willingness to share and push the festival industry forward. Get in touch with info@kambe-events.co.uk if you are interested in attending any future gatherings.

Thanks on behalf of A Greener Festival to Kambe, industry speakers, and attendees for an awesome day sharing best practice and discussing challenges faced when managing festival waste. Also, to Eighth Plate for the fantastic intercepted catering!

Posted by Ben Eddie