How do 3000 people leave only half a bin of rubbish?
THE amount of rubbish taken to landfill after the four-day Wanderlust festival at Novotel Twin Waters was less than a family puts in their wheelie bin once a week.
Teams of volunteers from the Surfrider Foundation and elsewhere hand-picked through waste collected at the festival to ensure nearly 100% was sent for recycling or composting.
Half a wheelie bin of waste was sent to landfill after the festival, which drew 3000 people.
Visitors were encouraged to put their rubbish into bins for recycling, compost or trash at eight waste stations at the festival, which has a "zero waste" goal.
Greg Howell, the owner of Climate Wave Enterprises, which managed waste collection at the festival, said the 97.7% of the material was able to be diverted from landfill - an unprecedented result in his seven years experience in the field.
"Out of all the waste resource - I don't like to call it waste because most of it can be a resource - we had half a bin that had to go to landfill," he said.
Mr Howell said 22 wheelie bins of recyclables, such as cardboard and glass, 13 bins of compostables, such as food scraps, corn starch cups, and bamboo forks, and seven 240L bags - the equivalent of seven wheelie bins - were collected during and after the festival.
He said the compostables were sent to an industrial compost firm, Earth Born, to be made into compost, some of which would be returned to Twin Waters.
The soft plastics are destined to be recycled into seats and benches.
Wanderlust festival director Jonnie Halstead said waste minimisation was part of the festival's ethos.
"In this day and age, if you don't have a sustainability policy, you're a bit backwards and you're not doing your bit for the planet," he said.
Mr Howell said the trash rate was particularly low because festival organisers had asked stallholders to use recyclable packaging where possible but the end result was due to a combined effort.
"We talked to a lot of people at the waste stations and told them what we were doing and they were like, 'Wow!' It wasn't just the organisation that was good, it was the whole thing," he said.
He said sorting through the waste did not appeal to some volunteers initially but "when they realised they could make a positive change by doing that, they became eco angels".
He said Party Bins, which provided bins for the site, had helped minimise the waste by going liner-free and instead allowing the bins to be scrubbed out.
Mr Howell laid down the gauntlet for other festivals and events to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill.
"It's not that hard if you've got the right support. It doesn't take much for vendors to get on board," he said.
Mr Howell said Sunshine Coast Council could also play a role by requiring festivals and other events to be sustainable or aim for a landfill limit.