I’d like to start this blog with two thank you’s to Karen Rudkin, Acting Waste Strategy Officer for Gold Coast City Council for passing on an invitation to view the most amazing mobile recycling plant and to Cheryl Bailie from Closed Loop for squeezing me into the tour group. The invitation came from Closed Loop to view their Turnstile 21 fully portable waste separation unit at Splendour in the grass festival in the beautiful township of Byron Bay.
I never need an excuse to visit Byron where I have friends and colleagues from my Surfrider Foundation days, Hey Don & Rusty!
Arriving early in Byron to a magnificent day I went straight to the beach to check the surf but unfortunately the swell was non-existent. But Byron is full of wonderful experiences and people so I wasn’t too surprised to find these magnificent mandalas racked into the sand.
Time to head into the event, I left my car and caught the shuttle bus to Belongil Fields where I was met by North East Waste Forum Coordinator, Jeanie McKillop and the dedicated representatives. We were then escorted onto the site by our tour guide, Steve Hunter, Chief Executive of Douglas Site Services. As we headed towards the main feature Turnstile 21, Steve explained the terms & responsibilities of the waste management strategy which included:
Splendour has been considering sustainable event management practises before the name SEM came to existence and has been developing each year. A wonderful stat from their website states that 8,000 patrons offset their travel to the event last year. I wonder what percentage of patrons took that option this year. (Will follow up)
Some of the give-aways that this festival is greener than others:
- Carbon offsetting option on web site
- Environment page in navigation bar of web site
- Green team volunteers scouring the site for discarded refuse
- Eco Cops handing out “I cleaned up at Splendour” badges
- The generators used Bio Diesel from PremiAir
Some brilliant news has just come to hand from the man behind the SEM systems at Splendour, Matt Morris, who is the newly appointed General Manager of the North Byron Parklands. Approvals have been given by the New South Wales Department of Planning for a detailed management system for this area which takes in a stunning 660 acre property at Yelgun in the north of the Byron Shire.
Which means in summary that:
- “Outdoor events are approved for a trial period of five years up to the end of 2017.
- Outdoor events following the trial period will require a further approval from Byron Council under Part 4 of the EP&A Act.
- Three events per year will be permitted during the trial period.
- Up to a maximum of 10 event days will be permitted each year during the trial.
- No event must exceed 4 event days.
- The five year trial period allows for incremental growth in patron numbers.”
“And a later stage proposes a conference centre for 180 people and accommodation in either rooms, tents or cabins for 60 patrons. There is also proposed a cultural centre covering local indigenous and non-indigenous history from the immediate area, a depot and office for a dedicated rainforest restoration team and a plant nursery for rainforest and bush tucker plants.”
I’m sure all festival goers would want to congratulate Mat and the team for their work in the past at this event and for a bright future for events and this parcel of land.
Byron Bay would have to be the leading area in sustainable events, between Splendour and Peter Noble’s Bluesfest they have won many awards. I hope other events confer and take note of these festivals and these practises start to thrive which will be to all our benefits.
If your favourite festival is not practising SEM yet and you’d like to see it “Go Green” maybe drop a few hints in their web site comments section or give them a call and let them know you think it’s a great direction to go in.
working with the planet