Originally posted on WOMAD and republished with permission
WOMAD’s zero waste results have increased by a monumental 26 per cent in three years and are now reaching record breaking heights.
In 2018 WOMAD organisers, along with the help of more than 100 zero waste volunteers, recycled and composted a record breaking 90 per cent, or 23,060 kg, of festival waste.
This was a significant increase from the 84 per cent of waste that was diverted in 2017, and a colossal increase of 26 per cent since 2015.
TAFT chief executive Suzanne Porter says years of audience education, coupled with a strong Todd Energy Zero Waste programme, a hard working and innovative team, and a ban on the sale of disposable plastic water bottles on site are some of the reasons for the impressive increase in waste diversion.
“Zero waste is a powerful concept and we have focused on educating our audiences – not just for the festival, but also to spark changes in their day-to-day lives,” Porter says.
“Over the years we have aimed to create a lasting impact, and the benefit of that is starting to be reflected in our waste diversion numbers.”
WOMAD first introduced a comprehensive waste minimisation system in 2008 with a team of 40 volunteers and the help of a $10,000 grant received from the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund.
The festival is now a leader in environmentally friendly events and tracking the results of the Todd Energy Zero Waste programme helps to inspire other events to follow suit, Porter says.
Manager Community Partnerships and Public Affairs at Todd Energy Hamish McHaffie says the Zero Waste programme is an excellent initiative.
“We’re very much looking forward to our new role as the WOMAD Zero Waste partner and supporting such a strong and unique environmental outcome for WOMAD and for Taranaki,” McHaffie says.
“We are committed to making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate, in particular with respect to mitigating our environmental footprint and enhancing our local environment. We’re also committed to doing our bit to ensure WOMAD is not only an amazing cultural experience, but that it is an environment that encourages and empowers people to reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Todd Energy is now in its fifteenth year as a WOMAD partner and McHaffie says he is continually amazed by the way the festival team manage to surprise and delight the audience, and offer a fresh new experience for even the most dedicated fans.
“We enjoy being part of the big build-up to WOMAD weekend, with campervans arriving, new visitors in town and the artist line-up being the main talking point out on the streets.”
Over the years WOMAD has had a series of sustainability initiatives aimed at creating a lasting impact on festival goers.
These have included World of Words sessions with leading eco activists like New Zealand’s own “Ecoman” Malcolm Rands, creative recycled art workshops in Kidzone, informative and inspiring stalls in the Sustainable Village, and recycling and composting experts educating festival goers at every waste station.
The 2019 festival also sees the introduction of reusable metal bottles, which will go alongside the free TSB Wai Water Refill Stations, the reusable coffee cups, the reusable Globelet cups at bars, and the fact that all food and drink products sold at WOMAD must be served in recyclable, reusable, biodegradable or compostable containers.
WOMAD New Zealand is on from March 15 to 17 at the stunning TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth. For more information, and for tickets, visit www.womad.co.nz
WOMAD BY THE NUMBERS
HOW MUCH WASTE WAS DIVERTED?
2015: 64 per cent
2016: 81 per cent
2017: 81 per cent
2018: 90 per cent
HOW MUCH WASTE WAS RECYCLED?
2015: 19,804 kg
2016: 20,320 kg
2017: 20,020 kg
2018: 23,060 kg