Wanaka Sun       

The unsung heroes tackling festival’s waste

Posted at 5:48am Thursday 27 Dec, 2018 | By Emma Conyngham newsdesk@thewanakasun.co.nz

Rhythm & Alps is the premier South Island music festival; with up to 10,000 party-goers flocking to Cardrona from all over the world this weekend. The music is great, the food is plenty, and vibe is buzzing but the waste can be overwhelming.

That's when Wanaka Wastebusters step up to show themselves the quiet unsung heroes that they really are. It's not a glamorous job but their dedication helps makes Wanaka the glamourous vista that it is.

Jeremy Bisson is in charge of Wastebuster's operations at the event and is optimistic that this year will be the best ever - primarily because of festival director, Alex Turnbull's decision to use globelets, and do away with the single-use plastic cup.

“I think their attitude is really, really good and Alex is adamant about keeping it tidy and clean, and the globelets are a really good idea. It changes people's attitudes. It's such a simple thing to do.”

As the cups are branded, people can take them home as a momento of the festival and use them for years to come.

Taking along your own reusable crockery and cutlery to reduce the waste from eating three meals a day out of disposable containers is also a good idea for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.

Doing away with single-use plastic cups is a gamechanger for festivals around the world but it has highlighted the other big problem: disposable camping gear.

“The days of borrowing mum and dad's good quality gear is over,” said Bisson. “Now, you can pick up a camping chair, airbed and tent for $32 from the Warehouse. At the end of festivals, people just bin it, or if the weather is bad, they simply walk away and leave everything in situ.”

With 10,000 people in attendance at the peak of the festival it's no surprise that the clean up becomes a Herculean task, but the speed of the clean up is hastened by the large team of volunteers that the festival management supply. The bulk of the clean up is done by the end of January 1, with everything back to pre-festival pastureland by the end of January 2.

“We know we're the tidiest festival two days after the party's over in Australasia,” said Alex Turnbull. “The success of the R&A brand is a lot down to Wanaka Wastebusters. They're really good at what they do – they have huge knowledge and massive dedication to the event. They make it fun.”




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