Step-by-step guide to composting
Require caterers – and everyone who provides disposable tableware, packaging and products to the public at the festival site – to use compostable disposable tableware. It is important that the products are made from kraft, unbleached paper, cardboard, thin wood or sugar cane. These products can be recognized by the OK Compost or Kiemplant logo. Other biodegradable materials such as (C)PLA, bamboo, thicker wood and palm leaves are not suitable for this system due to the length of time they require to compost. The demand for compostable disposable tableware is becoming more and more common for festival caterers. However, it is good to arrange for a discount for the caterers at two or three different packaging suppliers, so that the price difference does not vary too much from standard products.
Install a fast composting machine that composts all the organic residual material on location. All compostable disposables (suitable materials for a fast composting process: kraft, unbleached paper, cardboard, thin wood or sugar cane), food waste and green waste can go in here. The residual organic material is then converted by the machine in 24 hours, from waste to the new resource: compost. If necessary, this compost is sieved so that any contamination (not properly separated materials) will disappear from the end product after the composting process. In this way, the system can also withstand 10 to 20 per cent contamination of the compostable stream.
The compost can be used for growing food for subsequent editions, the restoration of grass fields or the enrichment of other soils. It can also be given to the public in attractive packaging or sold for home use. By using the compost in this way, the nutrients return to the ecosystem instead of it being incinerated. Thus, the organic circle is closed a bit more.
There are now some waste processors that can process these compostable waste streams. Discuss this with your waste processor if placing a compost machine doesn’t fit into your plans. Composting with a compost machine is a new, not yet fully developed, technique. It is currently not yet certain if the final product can properly be called compost.
Furthermore, we recommend separating two waste streams at the festival site:
2. Residual waste
In principle, everything that the public can get at the festival site can go into the first stream. The second stream – residual waste – is intended for the materials and products that people bring with them, such as cigarette packs, lighters, broken sunglasses, deodorant applicators, hair clips, etc.
With a well-regulated system, the residual stream is minimal. Therefore, it is also better if the residual waste bins are smaller than those for compostable residual material.
Success factors for waste separation are
- Clear signage above the waste bins
- Creating a mono-stream of material that can be processed in the same way
Good communication about separating waste at the festival site is essential. Use the website, social media, and signage at the bars and caterers and at the waste and resource bins. Visitors are not accustomed to plates, cups and utensils being compostable, so they may initially be a little confused.
Good signage can make it clear to the visitor what can go in a particular bin. Good communication afterwards about the results helps the public get used to the idea. Likewise, the appreciation for the festival as a whole increases.
By following these four steps, you can make the public areas of your festival virtually waste free. Are you interested in this as a festival organization, but could use some help with the planning and/or implementation? Then take a look at: www.labvlieland.nl