been a while since my last post! I've been keeping busy after work
gardening, cooking, fermenting, reading, hanging out with my friends and
getting up to all sorts of zero waste adventures and events;
I successfully hosted a zero waste BBQ (even with meat!)
to the movies (Academy Cinema) where we had zerowaste choc top ice
creams and watched a movie about living self-sufficiently and off the
grid "Life Off Grid"
Met fellow waste free advocates, Candace and Max from Waste-Less Living who organised 'Locally Sauced' a zerowaste local tomato sauce making workshop
and volunteered at a multi-day music and arts festival, Splore
been a really interesting past few weeks and I have met so many
like-minded people and had some wonderful conversations. The BF Callan
and I have picked up only a few minor pieces of trash over this time;
wrist bands from Splore (the plastic part and our volunteer band as the
main one is fabric), 1 straw, a few stickers, medical waste (pill
packets, KT tape, a bandage) and some birthday related waste (Callan's,
mainly soft plastics). We also had an appliance break at the hands of
flatmate (and cluttered cupboards), who very thoughtfully replaced it
for us, brand new. This came with some soft plastic and polystyrene, I was in a panic as to what do with this. Thanks to Ecomatters I have already recycled this, they collect these harder to recycle items and send them off to the right places for recycling.
Splore; A Summer Odyssey
Splore is located at the beautiful Tapapakanga Regional Park in South Eastern Auckland
I had first heard about Splore last year when Wash Against Waste put out a call for volunteers to help wash Globlets,
reusable cups that are used at the festival. Unfortunately I couldn't
attend then as old job was in peak busy season. This year I knew I
wanted to be involved and signed myself and Callan up straight away. If
you've ever been to a multi day music festival before, or seen photos
of the aftermath you may be aware of the huge amounts of waste that
generally tend to happen at festivals. So how did we fare, a whole 4 day
weekend zero waste? It was surprisingly easy, mainly because Splore was
so well prepared.
were really on the ball in educating their crowd before the festival
even started, posting heaps about precycling, leave no trace and even a
rap video about sustainability.
Alongside our camping gear, we packed cooking equipment and our camping
utensils, collapsible plate and a large cup. As our fridge and pantry
was already packed full of food for the week I figured we may as well
take it with us so it doesn't go to waste, and to save some dosh. I
packed all of our food into meshbags, cloth bags, containers and reused
zip bags (there's a no glass rule) and took a small chilli bin/esky.
were also heavily promoting car pooling and even offered discounts on
parking based on how many were in the car. As we were volunteers we did
not have to pay for parking or camping, however I decided we take a
carpooler to ease my guilt of driving and provide for some new
conversation in our radio-less car. I was stoked when I realised about
10 minutes in to the trip that I picked an awesome carpooler, also
volunteering on the zero waste team and as Camp Kaitiaki (Maori word
meaning guardian). The Kaitiaki wander around the campsites chatting to
campers about sorting their waste and not being messy, they leave them
with compostable bags for food scraps and bags for recycling.
we were volunteers we had arrived a night before the main crowd.
Unfortunately for us a weather bomb hit that night. Our carpooler
managed to get their small tent up during a brief non rainy spell,
however Callan and I missed our opportunity and after getting soaking
wet decided to sleep in the car. The car, despite being a 28 year old
hatchback, proved to be quite comfortable once we set up our camping
mats and flattened the seats. The weather cleared up for the rest of the
weekend, we pitched our tent in the sun and the rest was a stunning
One of the Waste Stations
What Makes Splore Sustainable?
Volunteers; There is a whole team of zero waste volunteers and Camp Kaitiaki
Education beforehand; Splore encourages precycling- not bringing any unnecessary packaging and promote 'leave no trace'
Encourages and rewards carpooling
Reusable Cups; Splorer's are encouraged to purchase a reusable Globelet cup, all of the bars serve only in these reusable cups. There is a $2 deposit for the cup, and you can return them for $1
Wash Against Waste; a team of volunteers who wash the Globelet cups and any other reusable items you may have
All food vendors were screened to ensure food packaging was fully compostable
4 waste streams on site; compost, recycling, soft plastic recycling and landfill
crowd; Splorer's were incredibly mindful and willing to be sustainable
as they know that Splore is a "Greener Festival"- yes Splore has won an
award for this!
The Wash Against Waste team
and I had the same shifts for the festival, a 6 hour shift each day in a
different location within the site. The first night was at the bins
next to the main food stalls in the hub of the festival, the second
night we were split up at different bins also in the main part of the
festival (I was conveniently located next to Wash Against Waste) and our
last shift was at a 'waste station' bin among the campers who were
sluggishly packing up to leave. The first two nights was mainly food
waste (compost) and the odd item in landfill, whereas the last day saw
us sorting through several days of trash and recycling.
had 3 waste streams at the festival- Compost, Recycling and Landfill,
and a 4th stream at upper camping level for Soft Plastic Recycling.
What we learned on the bins:
There's a lot of confusion about recycling and composting
Due to this confusion, many people wanted to put their trash in landfill as they were unsure
All of the food packaging at Splore was compostable, even cutlery and straws
Callan learned about PLA (Polylactic Acid), which the packaging was made from
Composting is not common knowledge- many people didn't know how to compost
No-one will believe you when you tell them their fork is compostable
of the crowd initially wanted to recycle their dirty napkins (they
should go in compost as they are soiled and the fibres are too short to
People are willing and interested to learn about waste
I'm not the only person crazy about waste and compost
Everyone was super grateful for our help
Food waste is a very real thing
Don't bring leafy greens or chocolate to festivals
People will throw out all sorts of useful, barely used items when they were cheap
Majority of the 'trash' was compost or recycling (!!)
Glow sticks and wet wipes are abundant on the morning after
Compostable food packing
was really surprised how majority of the crowd didn't know how to
compost or recycle properly, and their first instinct was to put their
trash in the landfill. Majority of the landfill rubbish came from
off-site, on the Sunday the landfill bins were full of glowsticks, wet wipes, un-salvageable costumes, and smaller things such as cigarettes, gum and condoms. We
also found a lot of people were wanting to dispose of their once-used
or even un-used costumes, thankfully there was collection point for
these which were sent to Ecomatters. Callan scored a pair of shoes that
had only been worn once and had a bit of mud on them, and we also ended
up collecting a decent pile of Globelet cups people didn't want to
return. The amount of unopened food was also pretty shocking, food that
had spoiled, melted or was slightly overripe- lettuce, chocolate,
bananas were the main culprits. We (as well as the other zerowasters)
tried to grab most of this before it went in the bins, and I will admit
to gorging myself on chocolate biscuits that I wouldn't normally buy due
to the copious amounts of plastic (we recycled all of the packaging).
We diverted a lot from landfill, most of the waste was compost, followed
by recycling, soft plastics then finally landfill, this is a fantastic
effort! On the Sunday we were receiving huge bags of unsorted trash, 90%
of the crowd were willing to stand their and sort out these large bags
with our help. They were all really grateful for our help and hopefully
sorting their trash helped them to learn how to properly compost and
recycle, as well as showing exactly what they are consuming and
disposing of. I believe if there was no-one manning these stations there
would have been so much more in the landfill bins. The sorted rubbish
actually gets double checked to ensure they are correctly sorted, any
unsorted bags get sorted. The compost is then sent off to a large
consented composting facility in rural South Auckland.
The waste station on Sunday morning with the sorted trash bags
All of the costumes we saved for Ecomatters
purchased a few meals and snacks, all using our own cups, plates, and
utensils, and Wash Against Waste washed them for us afterward. Even
though all of the packaging was compostable, reusable is the most
sustainable option, and I had all of these items conveniently in my bag
(my plate is collapsible).
Food stall snacks in our reusable's
did the whole weekend on the cheap, spending hardly any money and only
buying a beer at the end of the festival after our shift, cashing in the
Globlets we rescued.
Globelets & a new pair of shoes saved from the trash
we do it again? Heck yes! We thoroughly enjoyed sorting trash, having
conversations about compost and protecting the landfill bin like our
lives depended on it. It was like dumpster diving but without the
diving. And we are doing it again- this time next week we will be volunteering at WOMAD on their zero waste team with Beyond the Bin!