The Big Green Round Up: 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to look back on everything we achieved together over the past 12 months, in the name of a better future. It’s been another vintage year for all things green at Shambala – and (we say it every year but it’s true) none of our environmental wins would have be remotely do-able if we didn’t have support from the full Shambala community (ie YOU!). Thank you, once again, for being the most conscious, thoughtful and kind festival crowd on the planet. Every year, you lot prove that purposeful hedonism is possible and we’re so very lucky to have you.

WHAT WE ACHIEVED TOGETHER IN 2018

WE ACHIEVED 5* FROM THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY GREEN FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING.

Last year, we became the first ever festival to achieve a 5* sustainability rating– and this year, we were awarded 5* for the second time. This certification takes into account all aspects of an event’s environmental performance and is testimony to a huge amount of hard work from the whole team. We remain the only festival to have achieved a 5* rating, but hope to see others in the industry follow suit.

IN 2018, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, WE SENT ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL.

This is really positive, as far as ‘not wasting stuff’ is concerned – but it’s not actually our ultimate goal. Instead, our focus is on reducing the waste created in the first place (and we’re doing well in that regard too, reducing the total tonnes of waste created, year on year) and recycling as much as possible.

If we’re left with anything that we can’t capture as ‘clean waste streams’ to recycle, it goes to a facility that recovers materials, with anything left being used to create energy – even the ash is used. Zero waste is our end goal, rather than zero waste to landfill – but zero waste to landfill is still a decent part of the puzzle.

WE ACHIEVED A 10% REDUCTION IN OUR OVERALL CARBON FOOTPRINT – AS A RESULT OF NEARLY DOUBLING THE NUMBERS OF COACH TRAVELLERS!

This year, we focussed a lot of time and energy into increasing the amount of coach-travel to Shambala (and subsequently reducing the number of cars by hundreds). We did this by setting aside a quarter of tickets at every tier, for coach travel packages – and knocking £15 off the cost of festival tickets bought as part of a coach package. Travel miles (to and from the festival) make up over 90% of our overall Green House Gas emissions – so being able to reduce this by 10% in one year is pretty special. A BIG shout out to all the coach travellers who made this possible, we hope to see you all on the Shambala Express again next year!

WE’VE REDUCED THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF THE FESTIVAL BY ALMOST 90% OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS.

There’s still work to be done, but we are nailing it!

WE CAPTURED (& PROPERLY RECYCLED) 12,000 DISPOSABLE HOT-DRINK CUPS

2018 marked the second year of our ‘Bring A Cup’ scheme – where we encourage our audience to bring their own, reusable cup for any hot drinks they wish to buy on site. Those that use a disposable coffee cup are charged a levy on each cup, and use the dedicated bins, so we can capture the disposable cups and get them properly recycled* at one of the few plants in the country that offer this service. Cups that go in the wrong bin are not able to be recycled properly – so we were very pleased to capture 12,000 cups from the dedicated bins this year – an increase of over 50% on last year.

(* most recycling plants are not able to recycle cardboard coffee cups, due to a sneaky polymer lining). 

THE ESTIMATED IMPACT OF TAKING MEAT OFF OUR MENU IS A MASSIVE 100 TONNES GHG EMISSIONS PER YEAR!

What a statistic! And, for the third year running, Shambalans overwhelmingly voted to keep the festival meat and fish free moving forward. Watch this space for more news in the New Year.!

WE DISTRIBUTED HALF A TONNE OF FOOD WASTE TO LOCAL CAUSES.

Whilst being meat and fish free has drastically reduced the amount of food waste generated at Shambala, we found a good home for what was left over, through Elsie’s Cafe, a pay-what-you-feel social enterprise in Northampton, run as part of the Real Junk Food Project.

WE BECAME ONE OF THE FIRST FESTIVALS IN THE UK TO OFFER ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING ON SITE.

..and we’ll continue to do so moving forward, so if you’re coming to Shambala via electric car, you don’t have to fret about running out of juice on the journey home.

WE REMAIN 100% POWERED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY

As ever, Shambala 2018 was fully powered by clean energy – and we even ran the onsite vehicles with recycled biofuel.

DRUMROLL… WE PICKED UP SOME AWARDS!

  • This year, we took home the Innovation Award at the UK Festival Awards, in recognition of our pioneering sustainability practices!
  • Our very own Chris Johnson (Co-founder, Operations Director and Sustainability Lead) was awarded the Green Pioneer award at the P.E.A Awards – the UK’s leading sustainability awards. Nice one.

SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

We’ve got food on the brain. It was great to find out recently that our ‘food footprint’ is  likely about 100 tonnes less, due to removing meat and fish from our menus for just one weekend, but there’s got to be even more we can do to reduce our impact and provoke conversation about a delicious and sustainable future. Is there still a place for cow’s milk at Shambala? What about palm oil? Is there a viable alternative? Can we learn more and inform you, the consumer, about impacts better?

In 2019, we’ll be challenging you lovely lot to create your Shambala carnival costumes from recycled or repurposed materials.

As we reflect on the last 12 months, its with the next 12 years in focus, with the recent IPCC report warning framing the challenge ahead (read all about it here if you haven’t already), we think its time to start taking direct action… watch this space!

Shambala is now proudly free of pointless plastics, so what’s next – pointless stuff? Could we be completely free of disposables? We’re still wrangling with the finer details of whether this could work at such scale, but if there’s a way, we’ll find it!

Until next year…

The Shambala team x