The water company has set itself the ambitious challenge to make the whole festival – which will see over 2,000 people attend the event at Newcastle Racecourse over five days – completely waste free, meaning that nothing that is produced for the festival will go to waste…at all.
This applies to everything from food and drink right down to the materials used for stationary and banners and even the treatment of the toilet waste!
Anything to do with the festival will be chosen to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace with zero wastage and with the environmental benefits in mind.
In order to achieve the zero waste target a number of changes to the organisation of the festival have taken place. These include:
A complete ban on single use plastics. Everyone who enters the festival site will be given a NWG refillable bottle allowing them to refill at a number of water stations across the festival site.
The implementation onsite of zero-waste stations. This will allow for things that are recyclable and compostable, such as paper and food scraps, to be gathered and reused.
Sourcing and providing sustainable stationary and reusable display boards for the sprint tents and exercises. All banners, materials and stationary will be reused for other projects within the business.
Providing food, drinks and snacks that will support us in achieving our zero waste goal. Looking at the amounts of items ordered, how they are packaged and how they can be disposed of afterwards in the correct ways.
Even the lanyards that every guest will get are made from recycled plastic water bottles, and by having them unbranded means that they can be reused at other events.
NWG Business Transformation lead Alastair Tawn, who is leading the zero waste initiative, said: “To ensure an event of this size produces zero waste is one huge, huge challenge but it’s a fantastic target to set ourselves and it’s something we strongly believe in as a company.
“We really want to show it can be done and it’s completely changed the way we put the festival together. At every decision point, every meeting, every choice we make – we are questioning the environmental factors, the impact it would have on waste and then looking what we can do to minimize it and make it greener.
“It’s tough but it’s brilliant and if there was ever a company to lead the way when it comes to innovating and breaking down barriers then it should definitely be Northumbrian Water Group.”
Paul Elliott, Acting General Manager at Newcastle Racecourse, said “We are delighted to once again be hosting the NWG Innovation Festival and we fully support the zero waste initiative that will be in operation for the duration of the event.
“To run an event like this with zero waste production will be a remarkable feat and really showcases the innovative thinking and actions of Northumbrian Water Group and partners."
The announcement of the zero waste festival builds on the work that NWG, Newcastle city council and partners are doing as part of the Newcastle Waste Commission.
Made up of seven leading experts from the world of waste, the Waste Commission was formed early 2017, with the aim of helping improve the region’s environment and reducing the amount of waste produced by the city.
People can find out more about what’s taking place at the NWG Innovation Festival, and how they can get involved, at https://innovationfestival.org/.