Did You Know? The biggest festival trend right now is sustainability
Sustainability is hot right now… just look at recent festival fashion trends. From biodegradable glitter to vintage footwear, some of the most well-known music festivals worldwide were awash with low-impact clothing and accessories in 2019. But this isn’t just a passing fad. Your attendees really do care about minimizing their carbon footprint, avoiding plastic waste and generally making their festival experience as easy on the environment as possible.
… And as you start planning your next festival for 2020, that means you need to care, too.
Assess Your Impact
Becoming sustainable is a process. It’s about making improvements wherever you can, even if you’re still a long way off becoming 100% carbon neutral or plastic-free.
Start by carefully analyzing the ways in which your event is likely to impact on the environment. Where are you using the most power? What are your transportation needs? What materials are you using that will create waste or litter?
From here, you can begin to identify the small (or not so small) changes that will have the greatest effect. For example, could you switch to a more efficient fuel? Streamline deliveries? Eliminate disposable products that will only add to your clean-up efforts and costs at the end? The great news is that many of these alterations will actually save you a ton of money, too.
Precisely which changes make sense for you depend on the nature of your event, but let’s take a look at some examples of improvements you may want to consider.
5 Ways To Make Your Event More Sustainable
1.Limit Single-Use Plastic
This is such an easy win for everyone involved: stop selling single-use plastic bottles at your event. By providing free water refill stations around the site, you’ll ensure that people can stay hydrated and by selling refillable bottles on-site, you can offset any losses from sales of bottled water. Plus, your cleanup operation will be much easier without thousands of discarded bottles added to the pile.
When it comes to bar drinks and cutlery, more and more companies offer recyclable plastic alternatives. Seek these out.
2.Right-Size Your Generators
One of the biggest problems for any event is using oversized or undersized generators, i.e. generators with the capacity to produce much more electricity than you need, or not enough.
Generators work best when they’re running at 40%-80% of their capacity. If you use too little of their capacity, they become inefficient, wasting much of the fuel you put in. If you push them too hard, they start experiencing problems or break down. To keep on top of your emissions and costs, make sure you use the right size - and consider stacking units to scale up capacity as required.
3.Use Greener Power
Diesel fuel is a significant polluter, so if you can, opt for an alternative like natural gas or even an innovative fossil fuel-free fuel like hydrotreated vegetable oil.
Alternatively, consider setting up solar panels to power your summer festival. If you combine this with battery storage, you get around reliability concerns by ensuring you always have a backup supply.
4. Encourage Recycling
Make it easy for everyone at your event to dispose of packaging and so on in the most sustainable way possible. It’s not enough to have a few bins scattered around for different types of waste. You also need to clearly color-code and signpost these so that people don’t accidentally put their drinks cans and plastic in the ones meant for food waste, or mistake all the recycling points for standard garbage cans and so on.
Also, keep your message consistent by making that anything you sell or distribute on-site is made out of recyclable materials in the first place. Work closely with food vendors to ensure that their packaging, cutlery, and straws are either recyclable or biodegradable. Check that tickets and flyers aren’t coated with anything that doesn’t break down.
5.Monitor Fuel Usage
If you’re renting generators and other equipment from a top-notch provider, they should also be able to monitor the performance of this kit remotely. That means spotting problems before they lead to downtime, but it also means keeping an eye on fuel levels and usage.
If a generator is burning through fuel faster than expected, the remote team will be able to diagnose and fix any issues in order to address the inefficiency. This also means you know exactly when to top up fuel and don’t have to add more than you need, leading to waste.
And Finally… Get All Your Contractors, Vendors and Partners on Board
This is crucial. As you no doubt know, organizing any large-scale event means working with multiple other stakeholders, from utilities providers to food stalls to stage builders to marketing companies. To make your event sustainable, you need all these people to be on the same page as you, so that you can coordinate your efforts.
Look out for contractors, vendors and other partners who also emphasize their sustainability credentials and involve them in your planning as early as possible. Ask for their suggestions and insights, too. After all, they may have great ideas from past jobs that you can adopt, or even carry over into other parts of your festival.