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Case Study - WOMADelaide's successful switch to reusables

In 2020, WOMADelaide (WOMAD) – one of Australia’s best loved and most environmentally friendly music festivals – joined forces with Green Music Australia to reduce their waste output. The four-day event, held in Adelaide’s stunning Botanic Gardens, regularly attracts over 20,000 people a day.

Following research commissioned by Green Music Australia in 2017, WOMAD committed to phasing out single-use compostable containers in favour of reusable alternatives. New partnerships with Bettercup and Be-Alternative helped to ensure all reusable systems ran smoothly, including the provision of cups across the entire site and reusable foodware back-of-house. A mobile ‘Wash Against Waste’ van was stationed within the main grounds allowing all stock to be cleaned and re-circulated throughout the long weekend. 

Working closely with Green Music Australia and SA water, WOMAD ended the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, asking attendees to instead #BYOBottle in order to access one of the many free water stations dotted throughout the site. Pre-filled reusable water bottles from GMA’s Refill Not Landfill library were given to all artists and crew.

The Results:

  • 106K single use compostable beer & wine cups were replaced with reusable cups, 80% of which were returned as a result of the deposit system.
  • The rate of damaged cups was extremely low at only 0.11%.
  • Over 10K single-use plastic water bottles were avoided.
  • Several additional refill stations were installed throughout the grounds, guaranteeing festival goers easy access to free water.
  • BYOBottle messages were displayed throughout the venue, including at water stations and on big screen TVs.
  • The festival site saw a reduction in litter and bin usage.
  • 100% stock was washed onsite, maximising reuse potential onsite. 


At WOMADelaide it was pleasing to see that all bands were given reusable water bottles and every one of the dozen stages had water dispensers to refill with. It was mighty efficient and given the hot temperatures, saved well over a thousand plastic bottles. This is a great development" - David Bridie, Musician and Composer

"I’m thrilled to see my favourite Australian festival play a leadership role in dealing with our waste crisis” - Agata Wierzbowksi, audience member.

"Whilst our patrons are on the whole quite environmentally aware, the park had far less litter on the ground due to the use of reusables (with the deposit system)” - Mark Muller, WOMADelaide’s Production Manager


If you're interested in finding out more about the environmental, economic, and business case for transitioning from single-use to reuse in food service, we highly recommend this research from Upstream.


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