How waste was managed during the event
The team at Organic Wealth played an instrumental part of the waste reduction, with workers stationed at the bins educating people on what could be recycled or composted. They also worked tirelessly at the end of each night to sort out the waste, says Organic Wealth Waste Minimisation Events Manager James Michael.
“We place experienced waste minimisation educators at each recycling station who are tasked with engaging and inspiring people to put things in the right bin. Our goal is for everyone to walk away with a little nugget of inspiration and knowledge about waste, which they can use in their own lives. This is a point of difference for us.
“Throughout the event we sort through the bins to ensure there is no contamination. We even put a bag over the landfill bins to show people that there is no such thing as 'rubbish', that almost everything can be recycled or composted if you know how. And the proof is in the pudding – 99 percent diversion from landfill over four days, a remarkable result!”
The team did a lot of research and planning on how they could accommodate for the different waste streams, even down to the finer details – such what to do about the aluminium hāngi containers, says James.
“One of our staff went the extra mile to wash all aluminium hangi containers and recycle them. He then took all PLA materials such as coffee cups, waxy packaging, and food packaging with inks that usually go to landfill back to his own hot composting system to compost them. This bumped up our waste diversion by at least 10 to 15 percent.”
The future of waste reduction for events
Wellington City Council Waste Minimisation Officer Joanna Langford says that it’s exciting to see events adapt over the years and to see the systems at work.
“Within the city, there is a bylaw that events over a certain number of people need to have a waste plan in place, which help ensure event organisers know what types of waste will be generated at an event so unnecessary waste is designed out and reusable or recyclable solutions are planned for.
“We have some excellent guides and resources on how to reduce waste at your event and can loan free colour-coded bins or offer bespoke advice about the best systems and solutions.”
Looking towards the future, Jo sees things heading in a positive direction and encourages people to think about how they minimise or reduce waste on every level.
“There are so many ways for people to reduce waste, and plenty of people like Organic Wealth out there who go the extra mile in investigating waste streams and educating people. To really make a meaningful difference, the next step is for event organisers to move towards providing reusable service-ware at events. Attendees can make this transition easy by aiming to bring their own reusable crockery and cutlery to events.
“Low waste events can demonstrate zero waste in action, with lots of tips attendees can take home and apply to their own lives.”
Find out more about reducing waste at events.