A range of facilities need to be put in place, often cited in the events permit conditions, to put campers at ease when staying at a festival overnight. Often ‘no glass’ policies are helpful to the reduction of waste as inevitably aluminium cans are bought on site which use 95% less energy to recycle than they do to make new. Further policies can be put in place as part of the ticket holders conditions which will help protect the land, such as banning oils or gas (often for fire safety reasons) and having a zero tolerance of large home furnishings, such as lounges, carpet, and armchairs.
Often when we are asked to manage an events waste and recycling we put in place an initiative called the Bag Deposit Scheme. Instead of issuing free garbage bags on arrival, re-useable sacks are exchanged for a $5 deposit. These sacks are then returned at the end of the festival, with recycling in them, and the deposit is returned. This enables a much larger percentage of recyclables from the campsites to actually be reclaimed, and minimises manpower time usually needed to hand sort. A return rate of between 70-80% is average, leaving 20% of monies which can be used to pay for the manpower needed to hand out sacks and return deposits. An educational element is also involved as when the sacks are returned with recyclables in, they can be checked and the campers are informed of what exactly is recyclable.
Especially effective when combined with the Bag Deposit system is a daily garbage run around the campsite. This can be introduced via the website and then the ute announces itself by either a distinctive sound (like and ice cream van) or brash colouring. Ideally the Loot Ute should opperate at the same time each day which should be decided upon taking into account programming and the difficulty of collecting loot in the dark. We find that between 8 and 12 noon or just before sunset is a time when most attendees are at their campsites.
Campsite wardens are often employed in the setting up period and packing down period of the campsite. These staff or volunteers enforce a tidy campsite rule and are especially effective in making sure couches, broken airbeds and foam mattresses are returned home. Although it may seem a little strict, these items are often left behind at festivals and cost an extraordinary amount to dispose of (even in fuel costs and site vehicle usage time to deliver them to the nearest Op-shop). This initiative really reaps benefits in the second and third year of an event, as returning attendees start to consider what they bring and reduce it when they know they’ll have to bring it home with them. The concept of a social contract is also imposed on new attendees.
Lately there have been some excellent permanent composting toilets set up (Meridith Festival) to compliment the temporary type as promoted by Natural Event , which are so useful for smaller cubicles for backstage/behind marketstall areas. Composting toilets are one of the best ways to reduce costs usually associated with hire loos, no pump out costs, no water trucked on site, and best of all the production of a re-useable substance to grow plants and vegetation with. Waterless urinals have been slowly gaining popularity for both men and women, and when managed properly with the chances of land contamination minimised, are an ideal way to increase the facilities needed by campers.
Boutique camping, such as tepees, yurts, biomes or pre-erected tents are an ideal way to minimise the amount of waste that may be left behind as tradional campsites pack up, especially if there is a bond involved which requires the boutique camps to be returned to their original states. They can also have the benefit of being combined with transport, creating a minimal emissions impact. Furthermore, boutique campsites are pre-established and can be placed in more fragile areas that may otherwise become damaged due to car movement. Event if tents are not pre-erected then a boutique camping area, with its own toilets, a common area and prime location is an ideal incentive for patrons prepared to travel by public transport and purchase combined tickets.