Northumbrian stretches its ambition to zero waste at its innovation festival

Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) has announced its upcoming 2018 Innovation Festival will be a zero waste event. The plan is for the whole week-long festival, which will see over 2,000 people attend the event at Newcastle Racecourse in July – completely waste free, meaning that nothing that is produced for the festival will go to waste…at all.

To achieve the target, a number of changes to the organisation of the festival have taken place. These include:

  • a complete ban on single use plastics;

  • the implementation, onsite, of zero-waste stations 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 the goal, including through looking at the amounts ordered, how they are packaged and how they are disposed of afterwards; and

  • even the lanyards that every guest will get will be made from recycled plastic water bottles, and because they will be unbranded, they can be reused at other events.

NWG business transformation lead, Alastair Tawn, who is heading up the zero waste initiative, described the zero waste goal as a “huge, huge challenge”. He said: “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 minimise it and make it greener.”