In 2019, Strawberry Fields Festival launched a new reusable crockery system, Rewash Revolution.
Born out of a desire to solve the problem of disposable culture, Rewash Revolution combined the determination and expertise of a group of event professionals to create, fund and manage a reusable crockery system. The aim was to remove all single use crockery from the festival, hire all necessary equipment at a low cost and develop a deposit system to make it cost neutral.
The first step was to create a sustainably sourced inventory which was adaptable to the needs of all vendors. It was decided that the best solution would be a 10 inch plate, 30oz bowl, 6oz cup and 12oz cup that were dishwasher safe and could handle hot and cold contents.
The plates and bowls are made from rice husk (a waste bi-product of the rice farming industry) and are extremely durable, non-toxic, BPA free and biodegradable after 2-3 years of use (subject to intensity of use). The cups were manufactured by KeepCup Australia in their solar powered factory and are 100 percent recyclable. The system worked by asking patrons to pay a $4 deposit when purchasing food or drink items, then scraping their plates/bowls/cups after use, returning to the wash station and receiving their deposit back. On-site commercial dishwashers were used to wash the reusable items.
The outcome was that over 90 per cent of the 10,000 festival-goers at the multi-day camping event used the system and all food and drink vendors on site got behind it. 5,000 plates, 3,000 bowls and 5,600 cups were purchased and 82 per cent of the stock was retained by the end of the event, with lost cups being put down to patrons wanting to keep hold of them and relinquish their deposit. By additionally implementing a $4 sustainability charge per wristband for all patrons on site when they activated their digital wallet, the system paid for itself (all inventory purchased, staffing and equipment hired) within the first year of operation.
Reusable cups at Strawberry Fields. Photo: Duncographic
As a result of the scheme, the festival site stayed clean throughout the entire three day festival, in particular around the food and drink areas. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of patrons at the festival grew by 20 per cent, however the overall waste generated reduced by 30 per cent, proving that environmental programs such as Rewash Revolution really do work.
We commend the Strawberry Fields crew for their dedication to waste reduction and acknowledge their excellent leadership in this space. If you would like any further information about the system or would like some help in greening your festival, please get in touch with Green Music Australia.