Why incineration solutions are becoming key to festival waste management

UK Festival summer

Each year in the UK, millions of people attend festival events. Globally, that number soars. And while they’re an occasion to celebrate, be together with friends and family, and revel in music and entertainment, the end of every festival kickstarts a much bleaker scenario when it comes to protecting the environment.

The growing challenge of festival waste

It’s predicted that 23,500 tonnes of waste is produced by music festivals in the UK each year – about the same weight as 78 fully loaded Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets. To put that in perspective, the average household in the UK produces around one tonne of waste a year. In America, the problem worsens. Each of the major music festivals in the US, such as Coachella, Stagecoach and Desert Trip, generate around 100 tonnes of solid waste every day.

The problem has escalated to such a point that Martin Myerscough, the recycling entrepreneur and founder of Frugalpac, recently said: “Our obsession with packaged stuff has turned the great British tradition of festivals into a series of quagmires of rubbish”.

Experts say the growing issue of festival waste and campsite waste is due to the increasing use of disposable plastics at festivals – with drinks and food predominantly sold in plastic cups, bottles and containers – as well as a culture of disposability, which has developed in relation to festivals.

While once upon a time, festival goers would invest in camping equipment to be used year on year, tents and gazebos are now slashed in price and made of poorer quality, making users less likely to retain them for future use and more likely to leave them behind as campsite waste. In fact, it’s now thought that more than 250,000 tents are abandoned at music festivals in the UK. Research suggests that the average tent is mostly plastic, equivalent to 8,750 straws.

Glastonbury Festival of the Arts

Tackling festival and campsite waste

Some festivals are upping their game when it comes to recycling festival waste, but in other cases, incineration is becoming a key festival waste management tool.

Many festivals have banned the sale of single-use plastic drinks bottles, converting to using only compostable plates, cups, straws and cutlery. In fact, all 61 members of the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals have pledged to ban single-use plastics from their venues and sites by 2021. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, the DGTL Amsterdam festival in the Netherlands had hoped to host the world’s first zero-waste music festival in 2020. They had already introduced plastic saving tools which, in 2017, saw its 20,000 attendees produce just 162kg of plastic waste.

However, festival goers still discard huge amounts of festival-related items, seeing increased waste end up in landfills each year.

Some of the items regularly discarded at festivals include:

  • Tents
  • Clothing
  • Wristbands
  • Toiletries
  • Ponchos
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Plastic Sheets
  • Mats
  • Newspapers
  • Mini Stoves
  • Food
  • Drink

Festival organisers are, therefore, left to consider alternative waste solutions to manage campsite waste and festival waste.

UK festival waste after event

Incinerator solutions for festival and campsite waste

Incineration provides the perfect answer. Temporary waste management systems can be transported to festival sites on demand for organisers to burn leftover waste and negate the need to dump unwanted waste into landfill.

We offer consultancy services, working closely with festival organisers to ensure their specific requirements are understood and then find the most suitable solution for their needs. Festivals are often held in remote, hard to reach locations, but we offer a range of containerised systems to allow our incinerator units to become completely mobile, so they can be easily transported to and away from site after use.

Furthermore, our medium and large portable incinerators can be fitted with heat recovery to provide hot water and hot air to campsites, so are a useful tool to have on location ahead of a festival.

For more details or to discuss your festival waste management solutions contact us today on +44 (0) 1704 884020 for more information on festival waste and campsite waste management solutions.

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