When it comes to encouraging festival crowds to focus on good waste practice and recycling, Grundon Waste Management is banging the drum louder than most.
Last August Bank Holiday weekend, as thousands of visitors arrived for 2019’s fabulous fun-filled CarFest South festival, Grundon’s recycling experts were on hand with practical advice, recycling bags, and a musical theme designed to get the message across with maximum impact.
For event organiser, Brand Events, ensuring good waste management – including zero waste to landfill and maximising recycling – is a top priority and it works closely with Grundon as its preferred supplier.
Brand Events’ Andrew Hunter, who is CarFest Operations Manager, says Grundon has played a “pivotal” role in achieving its waste goals this year and helping plan ahead.
“2019 was very much a year for us to define a future sustainability path, to look at what we bring on site, how we manage our waste streams and how we get the data we need to measure for the future,” said Andrew.
“We have the most incredibly responsible audience, they recycle at home and at work and they expect to be able to do so at events like this too. We have made big strides forward in terms of getting accurate measurements for our different waste streams and the analysis has given us hard and fast targets to work to for 2020.
“Grundon’s role has been absolutely pivotal in making this happen. They ensured the messaging was clear, they helped people to comply and, without doubt, we see them as part of the team – not just a contractor. It is a joint effort, but a lot of the initiatives have been driven by them and it’s clear they want to progress as much as we do.”
Grundon’s Peter Kent says good waste education is essential and a major focus is on the estimated 15,000 people who camp on site throughout the event.
From Thursday onwards, when the ‘early bird’ campers arrived, Grundon employees were on hand to meet and greet new arrivals, giving them free waste sacks and leaflets to encourage them to separate out their waste for recycling and showing which items should go into which bins.
“We gave out between 7,000-8,000 bags and leaflets and explained to campers that the more they did to keep the campsite clean, the less work it was for us and therefore the more money would be raised for children’s charities,” said Peter.
“It worked really well and we had a very good recycling rate – people took the trouble to take their waste to the waste compounds and they left the campsite really clean, which we were very proud of.”
Andrew agrees and says he and his team had never seen a campsite left in such an “amazing” condition.
In addition to general waste and recycling bins for campers, a hazardous waste container meant they could dispose of items such as gas canisters and aerosols on site – something which proved popular with some 60kgs of hazardous waste collected.
On the main showground area, there was a clear focus on improving ‘back-of-house’ recycling and waste management, with Grundon providing recycling leaflets to all traders to advise on segregating plastics, glass and cardboard, food waste and general waste.
Food segregation and collection was streamlined thanks to a new bin swap system introduced by Grundon and over 2,000kgs of food waste was collected and sent to Anaerobic Digestion, where it is used to generate bio-fuel and bio-fertiliser.
Andrew added: “There are a huge number of traders and outside caterers so concentrating on the segregation of food waste is an education process. This year, the management of the waste areas back-of-house was more effective and we made good progress which we can build on for next year.”
Across the site, Grundon installed waste bins and compactors, with collections made early each morning before the events began. Post collection, waste was audited to provide detailed information on levels of recycling and contamination.
Grundon maintained a high profile throughout the weekend, encouraging people to visit its own stand near the Wig-Wam stage, which included upcycled musical instruments and furniture.
“We wanted to attract as many people as possible to our stand so we could talk to them about recycling, even our chairs were made from wheelie bins,” continued Peter. “The kids could make as much noise as they liked and we also had refuse vehicles so we could show visitors around and let them look at all the equipment.
“It was really popular and we also had our Grundonian bins hidden around the site with clues to answer waste-related questions for a competition to win passes to CarFest 2020, so we were very hands-on to help educate people.”
Grundon even went one step further for CarFest by stepping in and providing its own roadsweeper vehicle to help with sweeping and smoothing down the arena racetrack area after a previous contractor was unable to fulfil the commitment.