Our QLD Roots & Shoots Coordinator Kate volunteered as an Eco Cop at Splendor in the Grass festival in Byron Parklands from the this July. Eco Cops provides a unique opportunity for Environmental Science students to help out at the festival and inform attendees about environmental awareness at the festival.
The festival pays particular attention to waste management and Eco Cops and Waste Warriors are two of the environmental outreach programs to encourage punters to sort their waster appropriately. Splendour has an extensive sorting system with a four bin system for non-recyclables, cans, organic waste and cardboard. Organic waste is fed to pigs at a local pig farm. Last year 320 tonnes of waste was sorted and this is expected to be exceeded at this year’s festival.
A unique initiative implemented by the festival is that all plastics sold at the festival are biodegradable. This is an initiative that other festivals around Australia should take on board due to the damaging effects of plastics on our environment.
Attendees are provided with waste and recycling bags and educated about the how to correctly sort and minimize their waste. Unfortunately, given all these resources some attendees are disengaged from environmental initiatives at the festival. One patron explained to Kate saying, “Yeah we got those recycling bags – but you know it is a lot of effort. To be honest I couldn’t be bothered.” However, there were also several individuals who were engaged and helped volunteers and Eco Cops carry out their work.
Splendour in the Grass also works with Liberation Larder to collect excess food from food vendors. The food is stored in a cool room and distributed to people in need in the Byron community. Food waste is a leading emitter of greenhouse gases which contributes to climate change.
Splendour in the Grass is a unique festival where care for the environment is instilled in attendees. However, this isn’t the only festival that follows healthy environmental practices.
The Sustainable Living Festival
The Sustainable Living Festival aims to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living and seeks solutions to global warming as fast as possible. The festival raises awareness and provides solutions to ecological and social challenges we face. The festival brings together people from different walks of life with shared values in sustainability and creating a better planet.
NYLC member Asitha Samarawickrama had the opportunity to volunteer at the festival in Melbourne in February. “The festival provides a great opportunity for people with amazing ideas to come together and express those ideas with people who are interested,” says Asitha.
Not only does the festival have excellent waste management practices, it incorporates a unique initiative to cut down using disposable plates and cutlery. The festival has teamed up with the Wash Against Waste trailer and volunteers wash all plates and cutlery at the festival and redistribute them to food vendors. It is no surprise that this is one of the most sought after volunteer jobs at the festival.
Volunteers also carry out surveys from attendees in order to obtain information about attendees’ environmental awareness. Most patrons are happy to fill this out after a visit to the festival and answers are used to improve the festival each year.
It is promising to see that some festivals around Australia are looking to reduce their ecological footprint. Next time you visit a festival be sure to pay attention to the environmental initiatives being taken at the festival and engage with these initiatives.