Since visiting Coney Woods for the first time in September 2011, when Noisily was a unrealised dream, our immediate resolve was to honour the natural surroundings. We wanted to create the perfect party and simultaneously protect the flora and fauna of our beautiful site in the Leicestershire hills. A festival in the woods, not on them.
Behind the scenes we have made many steps over the years towards a more environmentally friendly event, but the most important element in our success is the cooperation of our ticket buyers. The mass-consciousness of our Noisily festival family makes it all possible, and this was clearly displayed when at 1pm on Monday this year, just an hour after the final campers left the site, there wasn’t a single piece of rubbish visible in the campsite! We have never been to a festival site in the UK where this has been the case, in fact it is sadly generally the exact opposite.
In spring of 2017, Sarah, our head of operations at Noisily, joined a workshop in Manchester with the intention of becoming an assessor for the the organisation “A Greener Festival”. Whilst we sadly couldn’t afford to draft them in this year, Sarah picked up some invaluable information, and through her own extensive personal research devised the festival’s new Official Waste Management Plan.
Noisily has always strived to be green, and over the years we have used bio-diesel, planted trees across the estate and done the very best we could within our means to ensure as much of our waste output was recycled. However 2017 saw a marked improvement in the overall strategy, and both Sarah and festival Director Will, whose day job is his renewable energy company De-CO (De-Carbonisation), managed and oversaw a process which symbolised a big green step for the festival.
Steps included the total removal of plastics for sale across the festival, in particular water bottles and the plates and cutlery of our traders. Sadly after an unforeseen problem with our water supply, we had to provide bottled water on some of our bars to ensure guests had access to water. We did permit guests to bring their bottles in had they brought with them, however next year we are working towards a totally plastic free festival.
Work to do…
- Manage how we collect waste.
- Manage waste streams coming into the event.
- Look at how we can create a shift in attitude towards disposable items.
The Litterpickers.com headed up by Dave Drury did another incredible job, and there was no litter on site all weekend, and by 1pm on Monday, just an hour after ours gates closed to the public the campsite was totally spotless. Credit here must also go to all those people who came to the festival as guests and ticket buyers, because the respect you show for the Coney Woods is essential in keeping it as clean as we do.
The Noisily Stage dance floor, Sept’17
On the waste removal side we worked closely with a new management company, Waste Cycle, who have provided us with invaluable data regarding exactly where our waste ended up. Rob Hunt, the Business Development Executive at Waste Cycle was hugely complimentary about the efforts of the festival team throughout the event –
“All credit to the team over the festival duration. I visited site after the festival and was astonished to see the level of segregation that they had achieved. This meant that we could take an unexpected 120 cubic yards of waste into our plant that was clean, well sorted and fully recyclable as well as dealing with the other waste streams that we had accounted for. I am proud to be involved in such a well run and sustainable event.” -Rob Hunt
The Liquid Stage, Sept’17
What did we achieve this year?
Out of the 15.76 (T) total amount of waste streams collected, 99.6% of it was diverted away from landfill – 15.67 (T)
Of the 7.68 (T) of mixed recyclables collected, 100% were sent for recycling to be turned into other items – plastic bottles etc
The remaining 8.02 (T) collected consisted of food waste, wood, tree branches. It was either recycled (compost, woodchip etc or it was incinerated for energy recovery).
Only 0.06 (T), 60kg of waste was sent to Landfill as it could not be composted, incinerated for energy recovery or recycled.
The food waste went to an Anaerobic Digestion Plant, where it was converted into electricity. It was essential that this contained fewer than 5% contaminates in order for it to be digested, so knowing this ahead of the event we used a separate skip for compostable food ware. After the event Will and Angus our site manager, made a compost heap and emptied every bag of compostables into it, and over the coming months we will be monitoring the progress to see how well they degrade, to make sure it composts, and to use it for fertiliser on the site when ready.
Plans moving forwards –
- We will be visiting the waste cycle plant to gain a better understanding of how things work at their end, and how we can streamline our operation further to make their job easier.
- Biodegradable bin bags at the gate for all entrants.
- Involvement in local conservation and Leicestershire forestry projects.
Further relationships with companies such as –
- Vegware (compostable plates / cutlery etc)
- Faith in Nature (eco-shampoo)
- Loowatt (turning poo into power – winner of this year’s Green Festival Supplier Award)
- RAW Foundation (water charity and supplier of metal drinking canteens)
As our sustainability manifesto grows over the coming months, we are looking forward to sharing lots of exciting information with you, and seeing how we can get the whole Noisily family more involved in working towards a brighter, greener future for us all.