The Blue Mountains Music Festival has long prided itself on setting a high bar in sustainable waste management, and this year was no exception.
After two years of COVID-19 and weather-related disruptions, the festival returned to a still soggy site at Katoomba Public School from October 7-9 and was a resounding success, headlined by Kasey Chambers and John Butler.
Forecast torrential rain largely bypassed the festival site, and although numbers were smaller than previous festivals as expected, the event was as much a community reunion as a celebration of music and culture.
New waste management initiatives at the festival included separating coffee cups and lids to be processed by Simply Cups, and taking out all Return and Earn containers from the waste stream.
In another small step towards a circular economy, all the festival's compostable plate and food waste has been delivered to a local farmer at Bilpin's Harvest Farms, who are also using several large bags of pizza boxes for mulch.
Previously, festival compost waste has been sent to a commercial facility at Blayney, so processing by a small local producer reduces the festival's footprint even further.
Aaron Brocken from Harvest Farms said: "Harvest Farms is embarking on a venture to cut waste to landfill and use the compostable festival waste material to improve production on the farm. It is early days with the circular economy principle and requires all parties to collaborate to achieve far superior outcomes".
"Harvest farms received a shipment of material that will be processed to add value and ultimately result in increased soil fertility. The material will be treated to enable microbes to break it down and transform the carbon and other nutrients to become available, ultimately to the plants."
Blue Mountains Council's Ward 2 Greens Councillor Brent Hoare said: "After nearly 20 years volunteering at the Blue Mountains Music Festival it's enormously pleasing to see the progress we've made towards a zero-waste festival".
"Being able to return our compostable wastes to the ground to support local food production certainly make all the efforts of our wonderful team of Rubbish Room volunteers worthwhile. I hope what we've achieved will help to inspire other music festivals around the country to find their own sustainable solutions."
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