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Living Lightly column

Volunteers make green festival progress

By Doug Westland, Yackandandah Folk Festival

Since its inception, a goal of the Yackandandah Folk Festival each March has been to achieve true sustainability in consumption of resources and energy through the work of its voluntary “Green Team”.

This has led to many initiatives over the years, bringing the festival ever closer to a situation where it fully replenishes the resources consumed by the festival, aiming to leave the community in a better place in every respect as result of the event.

In 2018, the Green Team took delivery of 80 council wheelie bins for discarded materials – the ‘rubbish’ left by the festival patrons and visitors.

Each year, the team has refined the disposal of discarded materials. What is rubbish to some people is capable of another life and that’s the festival’s objective – to absolutely minimise what ends up in the tip.

The 28-member volunteer Green Team 2018 provided collectively 127 hours, an average of 4.5 hours each to get the festival closer to its objective.

All 80 bins were positioned somewhere in the system, either collecting or already filled with material for disposal.

At the end of the festival, the team audited and reduced the 80 bins into 20 bins of recyclable material, two bins of soft plastics for the RedCycle scheme and three bins of aluminium cans for a local Scout fundraiser. In all, 25 bins of recyclable materials.

A further 13 bins of compostable material have been processed through the Yackandandah Community Garden. That left the Green Team with only 11 bins of material for the tip and 32 empty bins.

Previously, probably all 80 bins would have gone to landfill because of cross contamination, at a significant cost to us all.

The compostable material was  processed and is now on the community garden – a far better outcome than trucking it all way to Albury and then to Wagga for processing.  Much of the compostable material consisted of single use cardboard food containers.

Although the compost is nourishing our garden, can we afford to be consuming ever more resources in this way?

A preferable solution is to reuse, and the festival is working with Plasticwise Yackandandah on extending this in 2019.

A sustainability objective is all very well for a festival, but what we really hope to achieve is more sustainability throughout the year in every aspect of our lives.