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Green Guardians: Resource management

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative highlighting some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

The inaugural list, which originally ran in IQ 90, features 60 entries across ten categories, selected by the Green Guardians committee, which includes representatives from some of the sector’s most respected bodies, such as A Greener FestivalGo GroupGreen Music InitiativeJulie’s Bicycle and Vision:2025.

Following on from last week’s feature on the companies providing PR and marketing initiatives, this edition of Green Guardians looks at how to turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.


Resource management

Pitched for You
Both the circular economy and the mantra “cradle to cradle” (as opposed to “cradle to grave”) are what drive Pitched For You, which, in a nutshell, hires ready-pitched tents to festival fans.

During a trip to Africa, recycling fanatic Kieran vanden Bosch was inspired by how many things the local people reused and repurposed, and so on his return to the UK in 2008, he started Transition Resource as a Transition Town group based in Glastonbury.

Under that banner, he set about picking up rubbish and trying to make useful things out of it, in the hope of turning rubbish into resource by creating a need for it.

“I found a lot of tents left at festivals and started Camplight in 2012,” says the serial entrepreneur. “I soon realised Camplight could never actually fully change the problem at large, so that’s why I’ve started Pitched for You, which I’m now trying to find funding for.”

During a trip to Africa, Kieran vanden Bosch was inspired by how many things the local people reused and repurposed

Mepex is a Norwegian consulting company that specialises in waste management and recycling. With almost 30 years of experience, Mepex has acquired a unique knowledge base.

Combined with a solid international network and good digital tools, it ensures its clients’ resource-efficient solutions enable them to achieve their environmental goals.

Mepex has a long list of ongoing and completed assignments for both the public and private sectors. It is an independent company run by partners and has 16 employees, located in the centre of Asker.

Those employees have a solid knowledge base and extensive expertise in the fields of waste management and recycling, allowing Mepex to embark on projects for different types of client groups, throughout the waste pyramid – and along the entire value chain for all types of products and materials.

With a strong background in waste management and recycling, Mepex offers a vast array of services including analyses; strategies and measures; implementation; and new circular concepts.

Mepex ensures its clients’ resource-efficient solutions enable them to achieve their environmental goals

Grist Environmental
For those organising a public or private event, Devizes, UK-based Grist Environmental can ensure that it is clean, safe and environmentally responsible.

The company’s specialist event services team is experienced, flexible and unobtrusive. It ensures that all waste is recycled and recovered from events at its specialist materials recovery facility, resulting in zero waste going to landfill.

Grist’s employees regularly manage waste solutions at events ranging from 30,000 revellers at a week-long festival to village fetes for a few hundred people at local, regional and national levels.

From the set-up to the breakdown of an event, the company can provide experienced and committed staff as well as flexible and reliable equipment hire. This ensures excellent customer satisfaction and site cleanliness for the duration.

Supplying a wide range of high-quality, customer-focused waste management packages, Grist’s services are tailored to meet specific client needs and can include everything from litter picking teams and corporate hospitality staff, to portable event toilets and fencing and crowd control barriers.

Grist’s services include litter picking teams, corporate hospitality staff, portable event toilets, fencing and crowd control

Describing itself as a “go-to source for sustainable hospitality,” Tutaka makes sustainable procurement easy by relieving buyers from the hotel, restaurant and event industry of the complex task of searching.

“In our marketplace, numerous audited products and services can be directly acquired. This saves time and brings products into the operations that inspire guests and employees alike,” it states.

The Tutaka platform features such varied products as upcycled, PET, hotel slippers, soap dispensers, aprons from recycled PET, edible spoons, straws made from straw and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has even sourced ranges of sustainable face masks.

For events and festival organisers, Hamburg-based Tutaka carries links for items such as F&B tokens made from wood cut-offs, organic cotton festival bracelets, recycled polyester wristbands and rentable lanyards.

On a larger scale, it brokers deals for the likes of sustainable festival toilet blocks, solar phone-charging stations, cardboard trash-cans and even cardboard tents.

The Tutaka platform features products such as edible spoons, straws made from straw, and even sustainable face masks

Ecofest is a Belgian, not-for-profit organisation that is constantly searching for more sustainable solutions for the event sector. It combines knowledge of circularity and sustainability with hands-on waste management at events.

Ecofest supports event organisers in its implementation of green measures by analysing the current situation, presenting a trajectory of solutions, and making the link between organisation and potential suppliers.

While Ecofest specialises in working with reusable cups and waste sorting, it also investigates possibilities within the whole range of environmental issues – waste, energy, catering, mobility, etc. The organisation’s aim is to raise awareness and change the behaviour of event visitors, organisers and suppliers.

It shares its practical experience through workshops, lectures and “how to” documents. To date, Ecofest has worked with several Belgian festivals, dance events and local authorities including the City of Antwerp and the Flemish waste administration, OVAM.

The organisation’s aim is to raise awareness and change the behaviour of event visitors, organisers and suppliers

Green Box Events
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling specialist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to events waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe.

The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams, Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem.

Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited and difficult access, as well as busy city centres and at high-profile sporting events.

It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important

Festovers’ ethos is to look at all avenues to create a circular economy, which currently translates as upcycling for reuse. Environmentalism has been at the core of Festovers from the start, as the whole idea involves trying to create a more sustainable festival/ events industry.

Festovers’ main work in 2019 was with Truck Festival in Oxfordshire where it managed to collect over 85% of the leftover tents, all to be upcycled.

Every year, more than 95% of leftover festival tents end up in landfill/incinerators. Festovers wants to work with major festivals across the sector to massively reduce that number.

Thanks to Festovers’ hard work, festivals can make a massive dent in their waste. With a good social media presence, the company is also offering a positive impact to the audience, as it educates about tent waste and tries to encourage people to take their tents home.

Festovers founder Thomas Panton says, “Don’t be afraid to make a big change. The future needs big changes, and sometimes leading the way is the best thing an event/ festival or even an individual can do.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 90, or subscribe to the magazine here


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Environment top of agenda for major UK events

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two British bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have recently announced headline performances in London this summer.

Festival Republic, whose managing director Melvin Benn has spearheaded various environmental projects at UK live music events, is promoting a one-day event headlined by the 1975 in North London’s Finsbury Park on 11 July – the Manchester band’s biggest-ever show and, according to a statement from the promoter, the greenest event ever put on in the park.

Charli XCX, Clairo, Pale Waves, Phoebe Bridgers and Beabadoobee will also perform at the event, which will be entirely powered by sustainably sourced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel – a form of renewable diesel produced from vegetable fats and oils lowering the show’s carbon footprint by 90%.

In addition to the 1975’s one tree planted initiative, which sees the band plant one tree for every ticket sold to their shows, Festival Republic will plant 1,975 trees in the park’s surrounding boroughs of Haringey, Hackney and Islington, in partnership with charity Trees for Cities.

Fans are encouraged to bring old band t-shirts to the show for reprinting with new logos, as part of the 1975’s sustainable merchandise range. Other eco-friendly measures include the use of hybrid-powered generators with solar arrays, and a traffic light system to highlight the carbon footprint of food options.

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have announced headline performances in London this summer

Elsewhere in London, Massive Attack are headlining AEG Presents’ All Points East festival on Sunday 24 May, adding to previously announced headliners Kraftwerk and Tame Impala. Nils Frahm, Young Fathers, Neneh Cherry and Sevdaliza are among other acts performing on the Massive Attack-headlined day.

The Bristol-hailing band have been vocal on the subject of touring’s environmental impact, commissioning a team of researchers to look into how the live industry can reduce its carbon footprint, performing at the Extinction Rebellion climate protest in London, and pledging to tour Europe by train.

The eco initiatives employed by Festival Republic, the 1975, Massive Attack and others will form part of the discussion at leading live industry sustainability gathering the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) on 3 March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.

Tickets for the 1975’s Finsbury Park show go on sale at 9 a.m. on 31 January, priced from £52.50 plus booking fee for general admission, with VIP options also available.

Massive Attack tickets will come on sale in due course. More information can be found here.

Photo: Begoña/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)


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Danish festivals go single-use plastic free with Tuborg

Northside, Tinderbox, Roskilde and Green festivals are tackling plastic waste in collaboration with Danish brewery Tuborg, introducing new, reusable plastic glasses to the events.

Each year, the four festivals dispose of over two million plastic bar cups. This year Northside (33,000-cap.), Tinderbox (55,000-cap.), Roskilde (85,000-cap.) and touring concert Green (20,000-cap.) will only provide sustainable, reusable plastic cups, developed in cooperation with Tuborg.

The new glasses are made from polypropylene and can be washed onsite in Tuborg’s mobile dishwasher until worn down. It is expected that the glasses will endure 25 uses before sending the material back to the supplier for recycling.

At Roskilde, festivalgoers will pay a one-off charge of 5 DKK (US$0.8) for a cup, receiving 1 DKK ($0.2) back upon return. The rest of the cost goes towards paying for the washable recycling system.

The initiative was developed in conjunction with Danish environmental organisation Plastic Change, which has acted as an advisor to Tuborg throughout the project.

“This year, Tuborg is literally making life a little greener at festivals”

“This year, Tuborg is literally making life a little greener at festivals,” says Christian Sveigaard, marketing and sponsorship manager for Tuborg. “It’s a great day for Tuborg and a giant step towards reducing unnecessary plastic waste through a more circular business model.”

“The project is an important victory in the fight against unnecessary disposable plastic,” comments Henrik Beha, founder of Plastic Change. “It will also change the use-and-throw-away culture, which is one of the core challenges of the growing plastic waste. We see it as a big step forward that will undoubtedly inspire others to go in the same direction.”

Peter Woods of Down the Drain Group, the promoter for Northside and Tinderbox, says the festivals are expected to lead the way with environmentally friendly initiatives, given the audience they attract.

“I am particularly proud that we as an industry can stand together and take shared responsibility, when it really counts,” says Woods.

The introduction of recyclable plastic cups follows a string of eco-friendly festival initiatives around the world this year, including the single-use plastics ban at Glastonbury and ID&C’s new green wristbands, made from recycled plastic and bamboo.


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Eco-friendly event wristbands “big hit with fans”

UK-based provider of wristbands and lanyards, ID&C, has launched eco-friendly festival wristbands made from recycled plastic water bottles, in response to increasing demand from customers.

ID&C‘s new range of wristbands and lanyards is made from a recycled polyethylene fabric, produced from recycled plastic bottles. The eco bands come with duplicate print on both sides and a bamboo barrel lock, which is made from 50% less plastic than standard barrel locks.

As with standard event wristbands, for security reasons the recycled wristbands cannot be removed once the lock is fastened to the wrist.

According to industry estimates, roughly 23,000 tons of waste is produced at UK music festivals each year, but only a third is recycled. Festival organisers are now making increasing efforts to reduce the amount of waste produced at their events.

Plastic drinks bottles will not be on sale at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, with festivalgoers encouraged to bring reusable water bottles. The festival had already phased out plastic cutlery and plates, as well as single-use plastic cups and plastic straws.

“It is a tough challenge as our products have to be strong and secure, but we are always developing new ideas with the aim to provide a full range of alternative greener products”

An Association of Independent Festivals initiative has seen 61 festivals commit to making their events free of single-use plastic by 2021.

“Reducing the levels of plastic used across festivals and events is an ongoing challenge for any event organiser and we want to contribute to lowering the impact where we can,” says Matt Wilkey, company director and co-owner of ID&C.

“We have been continually exploring ways to become a more eco-friendly company. It is a tough challenge as our products have to be strong and secure, but we are always developing new ideas with the aim to provide a full range of alternative greener products,” adds Wilkey.

“Our ongoing initiative is to develop a range of products that are not only recycled but are also fully recyclable,” explains the ID&C director.

ID&C ensures all products are professionally tested to verify the strength of materials and their eco-friendly status.


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