Zero – Waste Concept – Milne’s Bar
We hit up Monty’s bar and grill for a chat about what the waste management crew (Izzy, Amanda and Tom) have been up to. What we inferred was that the idea of zero waste is 90% fun and 10% education.
R & M – Its a crazy to conceptualise that Off the Grid will be a zero-waste event. Immediately what comes to mind is big festivals at 7am on Sunday. How have you guys gone in preparing to achieve this exciting goal.
Izzy – The thing that immediately comes to mind when you mention big festivals is the shear volume of human power they have cleaning at the end. A wave of 20 people going back and forth. What we will hope to achieve is to empower the individual to clean up after them selves. This will be made easy on the day via the infrastructure we have put inplace to help the individual. The great benefit of empowering the individual is that the people will be conscious of what they are doing. And the lack of waste will create this vibe within the party that will be clean and fresh and hopefully contagious.
R & M – So Tom, what would be one of your ideal ways for an individual to reduce the waste at Off The Grid?
Tom – I think smoking is a big one. Cigarette litter is massive, its beyond comprehension. Its probably the biggest litter problem that exists. So, we want to be able to minimize smoking litter at the festival. We don’t in anyway wish to stop people from smoking, just become mindful of not butting out on the ground and disposing the litter in the correct smoking bins that will exist through out the festival.
R & M – Do you think those film canisters (personal ash trays) are a good way of reducing ciggie rubbish?
Tom – I think they definitely work. I got one when I was at a festival last year over in Europe and I kept it and have continued to use it at other festivals.
Izzy – Yea, we got an offer for some of those, however for this festival we want people to put their butts in the bins. Because Amanda has dealt with a way to deal with that waste specifically.
Amanda – Yea, well I’ve been considering for a long time. Tera Cycle is a massive US company that recycles all aspects of cigarettes from the butts to the packaging. Teracycle did once have a recycling program here that was funded by the Australian Tobacco Industry for about three but sadly with drew the funding. However this allowed for other companies to fill the void. One of these companies is called Enviro Poles. Enviro Poles make and install the silver pole ashtrays in public spaces as well as at Universities. So, we have hooked up with Enviro Poles who heard what we were doing and will take the butts and packaging and work with Tera Cycle to recycle them.
R & M Do you know what the butts are turned into after the recycling process?
Amanda – So I don’t know the specifics but there are multiple processes in breaking the butts down due to the fibers and plastics in the butt. Once separated the fibers can be composted or broken down whilst the plastics can be turned into other plastic things, for example are ash trays. Full circle haha.
R & M Some smart Australian scientists have also could use cigarette butts to create bricks!
R & M – Moving on to organic waste, what’s the deal with composted?
Izzy – This is pretty interesting. The EPA has very strict guidelines of what can and can not be composted from events like this. So, we have had to go off the books and talk to people in the waste business who have gotten around this issue. So, our waste will go to a farm and mixed with other forms of waste to be used as fertilizer.
R & M – Should people be bringing in their own water bottles?
Izzy – Absolutely, if people are going to bring their own water bottles then definitely bring one that doesn’t need to be thrown out, that’s obvious. If people don’t bring a reusable water bottle then they can just use the cups that we will supply. These cups can be borrowed from us during the day and upon returning the cup you get you all your money back that you payed to hire it. People don’t really need to bring anything it all provided.
Ross – Should I get some more beers?
R & M We are really really excited about this idea. Hopefully it spreads outside of festivals and events to most areas of society.
Tom – Well we are planning on it being a great success and then developing it further into the society. It’s a little snap shot of how we want our city to be.
Izzy – Festivals are a good snap shot of consumption so we hope to be able to highlight how we can lower our foot print from a day festival.
Amanda – You know what seems to be a massive waste problem that hasn’t had much research done to mitigate the level of damage it does. Chewing gum. We have had to talk to people in Europe to try and figure out how to deal with the waste. Its just plastic, it wont compost it wont do anything. There is one lady in the UK that has could turn the plastic in chewing gum into chewing gum bins which is awesome. They sit next to normal rubbish and recycling bins in London. We are going to see if she will take our gum. Otherwise I would urge people to just by organic gum.
R & M A box of used chewing gum from Australia is an Interesting thing to come to UK’s customs huh? I mean this is all about facilitating people to have a lesser impact on the environment. Is there a better environment to learn in then outside, in the sun, listening to music and having a drink? We can’t think of one.
Izzy – Off the Grid is mainly new ground, it really feels like you are going against the grain at every step. The solutions once you find them are so simple. You just wish that more of them existed and were main steam, such as solutions for recycling chewing gum.
How to be a good Off-Gridder!
As you may know, Off The Grid is a zero-waste festival. We have set up the festival in a way to make it super easy for you as attendees to help us achieve this goal.
Unlike most festivals, which use disposable cups, we will be using polycarbonate cups which we will wash and then reuse.
You will charged a loan fee of $3 for your first drink, and when a cup is returned the money will be refunded or a clean cup will be used in it’s place for the next drink.
Don’t throw your cups away! There are no recycling bins at Off The Grid.
There will be a plethora of delicious food on offer at Off The Grid, which will all be served with compostable plates and cutlery. After eating, please put these in the bins COMPOSTABLE.
Please do not put ANYTHING else in these bins. We have partnered with a farm that will be using this waste, and anything other than organic food waste will contaminate it!
We have partnered with an environmental solutions company called Enviropoles, who will be collecting our cigarette waste for recycling!
Please place all cigarette butts in the designated cigarette butts bins.
There will also be a cigarette packaging bins for all other cigarette-related waste – NO BUTTS.
Most chewing gum does not break down naturally and there is no current recycling program for it in Australia.
If you simply must chew – why not try an organic brand such as Chicza, which is biodegradable, and simply turns to dust over time.
There will be some bins specifically for chewing gum – PLEASE DO NOT PUT CHEWING GUM IN COMPOST!
This is where we really need your help. Please don’t bring in anything you do not 100% need for the day.
Bring a reusable water bottle if you wish – there will be plenty of drinking water that you can re-fill from – you are also welcome to use the reusable cups from the bar.
Please don’t bring throw-away plastic bottles, packaged food, or anything that generates waste!
If you do bring something in – consider taking it home with you!
Thank you for working with us – have fun! See you on the 21st 🙂