It just goes to show, if there’s a will there’s a way 🙂 Our will was to divert event waste up to 80% from our waste stream away from landfill as possible. And thanks to Waste to Resource event waste specialists we accomplished an enormous 93% at our first attempt during the Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge Sunshine Coast event.
Climate Wave Enterprise engaged Waste to Resource early to plan, implement an event waste strategy and report on outcomes. Volunteers were recruited by Surfrider Foundation to monitor bin stations, help people use the right bin and decontaminate bins when needed. In total there were 5 bin stations around the festival precinct, each with 3 x 240L wheelie bins signed – WASTE, RECYCLE and ORGANICS and a 15L bucket for FOOD SCRAPS.
The Surfrider Eco Challenge 2014 bought together professional surfers, skaters, iconic alternative surfboard shapers, local musicians, speakers, businesses and organisations and the wider community to celebrate the Coast’s beautiful beaches, promote the preservation of the ocean and coastlines and demonstrate sustainable and ecological living and event practices.
The event was held in the parkland surrounding the Kawana Waters Surf Club on the Sunshine Coast from 7am-8pm. Adult and kid’s water and park activities were held throughout the day along with 7 local bands and 47 local food vendors and stall holders.
Strategies for waste minimisation included:
- Stallholder were advised that no plastic bags or plastic eating/drinking utensils were permitted
- Stallholders were asked to minimise packaging and use compostable eating utensils such as plantation birchwood or cornstarch cutlery, sugarcane or bamboo plates and compostable drinkware
- PLA BioCups were used in the Club bar
- Stall holders were engaged early and emailed information about the waste goal and guidelines of what was acceptable to bring to the festival.
- Lisa Flower met with stallholders on the day to explain bin stations, waste goals and processes.
- The event was advertised as sustainable event both online and in print media
- Regular MC announcements were made during the event advising festival goers to use the right bin.
- Lisa Flower from Waste To Resource made an announcement explaining the bin system and the importance of ensuring source separation, particularly with the organics/foods scraps.
- Each bin station had a ‘Waste, Recycle & Organics here” sign; the recycle bins and food scrap bins had stickers with illustrations and each organic bin had a cardboard sign with compostable waste items stuck to it.
- Lisa Flower from Waste to Resource provided a training session in the early part of the event to volunteers and identifying waste items and correct disposal
- Two volunteers were stationed at the main stage bin station and provided friendly advice to festival patrons about what bin to use. The other bins were regularly visited and checked for contaminants.
- 240L Yellow Recycle Bins – cans, glass and plastic bottles, rigid plastic food containers, paper, cardboard and foil cups
- 240L Green Compost Bins – sugarcane plates and food containers, plantation birch wood & cornstarch cutlery, wooden stirrers, PLA BioCups cardboard and paper
- 240L Red Waste Bins – plastic ice bags, plastic bags, tape, wire, nappies, cigarette butts, disposable food gloves.
- 15L Buckets – all food scraps including meat and dairy.
Equipment and Bin Management
- 5 x bin stations consisting of a 240L recycling bin, 1 x 240L waste bin & 1 x 240L green organic bin plus a 15L food scrap bucket with lid.
- Organic bins and food scrap buckets were taken to the University of the Sunshine Coast for sorting, shredding and composting in the OSCA on the following Monday.All other bins were collected by Remondis for disposal.
- 190L of landfill waste consisted of plastic bags, cigarette butts, nappies, packaging from food vendors, waxed cardboard food containers and food grade plastic gloves.
- Originally 1152L of organic waste was collected (excluding food scraps), however the clean cardboard was removed from this stream due to the OSCA’s (the aerobic composter at USC) need for a dry to wet radio of 3:1. The clean cardboard was diverted to the recycling stream.
- Collaboration with USC provided a positive learning experience and established a relationship between Surfrider Sunshine Coast, the Buddina Community Garden members and the University’s Facility Manager and team.
- Approximately 180L of coconut shells were collected, halved and shredded reducing it to approx 60L of waste.
- A large number of coconuts and coffee cups were diverted from the organic waste stream and reused as unique ‘pots’ for seedlings by festival goers at the Buddina Community Gardens stall.
- Approximately 90L or 30kg of food scraps were collected
- Organic bins contained approximately 10L of contaminants consisting of AROMA disposable coffee cups, plastic lined drink cups, waxed cardboard food containers and straws.
- Festival goers were very encouraging and appreciative of the efforts of the waste team and the festival as a whole to increase recycling and divert waste from landfill.
93% of waste was recycled
Total waste = 2720 litres
190L landfilled – 760L composted – 1680L recycled
- More volunteers to monitor bins over the duration of the event. Bin monitors are essential to achieve a high recycling rate and low contamination levels.
- Ensure stallholders fully understand their commitment to a plastic free event and use of only compostable items. One stall was using plastic straws, waxed cardboard containers and drinking cups.
- Ensure stallholders fully commit to disposing their waste in the correct bins during and post event.
- Set up a bin station near the public bin to ensure it captures only landfill waste.
- The 4 bin system proved manageable for a smaller event. As the event grows it will be easier to work with a farmer or commercial facility who can take the mixed compostable eating utensils and food waste together.
- Bin tops would further help festival goers with using the right bins.
If the volume of clean cardboard is manageable then it should also be shredded down for use in the open-compost-bin system (as used at the Buddina Community Garden) in order to minimise the transport miles involved in normal Contractor recycling.
- To the volunteers that worked throughout the day monitoring bins and educating people on correct waste disposal
- To Remondis for donating the cleaning and servicing of all bins and providing a discounted fee for removal and disposal.
- To Sunshine Coast Council for the offer of bin tops and Envirocom for the bin signage.
- To the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for processing the organic waste though their shredder and OSCA composter
- To Buddina Community Gardens for their logistical support in managing the organic waste through the composting process and for giving feedback on the outputs achieved.
- To the stallholders who purchased compostable tableware, and reusable items and separated their waste for disposal.
- To the Kawana Surf Club for purchasing BioCups for the event
- To Surfrider Sunshine Coast Eco Challenge volunteer management team for their ardent commitment to sustainable waste practices and a plastic free event.
This report was prepared by Lisa Flower – www.wastetoresource.com.au – 0413 638 482 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Wave Enterprises
working with the planet