Written by futureofwaste

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“Tackling  waste in tourism & events”

Strong, resilient and abundant, together wood and metals have remarkable properties. On the other side, they also form one of the heaviest and most voluminous waste streams generated by human activities. Those two materials are everywhere in the tourism and event industries: particularly through furniture and scenography. Let’s see how tourism professionnals and events organizers can reduce, reuse and recycle those precious materials.

Why?

  • In 2017, one soccer field of forest was lost per second.
  • Wood is easily recyclable: with one ton of recycled timber, it is possible to save the equivalent of 1.5 m3 of wood and 300 liters of oil.
  • Metals are a non-renewable resource: there are only 17 years left in reserve for tin, 18 years for led, gold and zinc, 37 years for copper and 60 years for steel in accordance with a business as usual scenario, and despite potential betterment.
  • Moreover, most metals are indefinitely recyclable

Learn more:

What?

Identify your main sources of wood and metal waste. Waste left at the end of an event (tents, exhibition boothes, signage…), renewed furnitures, deconstruction of a chalet or village festival…

Measure through key indicators your waste production, to evaluate your progresses over time. Read our article Measure and estimate your waste reduction progress.

See Metabolic material flow analysis of the DGTL music festival in Amsterdam : infrastructure and furniture waste, combined with tents, and stages represent the largest part. They are mostly made of wood, timber, steel and aluminium.

#1 Pool and rent materials

When designing your stages or infrastructures, think about the next editions: What could be kept? How to facilitate its transportation? For one-shot events, could you rent the materials? Could you split the cost by sharing with another festival ?

Possible if:
– Don’t include years or names of events, keep it neutral so that it can be reused for next edition or shared.
– Take a close look at logistic conditions.

Save money

Require anticipation, cost logistics’ money: depending on your location, supplier, type and quality of material.

Examples

  • In France, WeLoveGreen festival has decided to share event production components. Furniture, barriers, signage system are rented or lent to other festivals (cf. Les Déchets Acte II, in French).
  • From stages, bars, stands, relaxing spaces to signage systems, setting up a festival requires an important volume of furniture that is, most of the time, designed specifically for this event and will be thrown out after just few days of use. Staging a festival has an environmental cost but also an economic cost : “For a 10,000-capacity festival, we would spend up to £30,000 taking the waste away.” Gareth Cooper, co-founder of Festival No 6.

Suppliers / Partners

  • Matelo Evenements,is a French online platform to rent and share furniture for events. Free for use, their goal is to match your needs of equiment with the closest available rental service, in order to minimize transportation. 

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#2 Share your waste to be reused

You can both – share your wood&metal waste with others – and yourself buy/get some used one for your own activities !

Once all appliances are dismantled, wood&metals can become almost like any virgin material, ready to be used in constructions or projects. Your waste can be turned into useful resources. NGOs, second-hand shops, repair centers and many other organizations can be interested in collecting, repairing, and sell/distribute it for reuse.

Possible if: you ensure the quality of the waste material that you’ll give or reuse to prevent accidents. Keep warranty information, especially fire safety labels.

Save money: by reusing second hand material instead of buying it.

Costs some anticipation: find suppliers and organizations to give away your waste material. Anticipate on the materials that are most reusable

Examples

  • Each year, and with different themes, Bellastock organises its festival, during which architecture students create temporary and villages made from remployed materials.
  • Bristol Wood Recycling Project is a Co-opt, which  collects tons of good quality timber from businesses that would otherwise be wasted. They bring the wood back to their site and either sell it, or make new wooden products in their workshop.
  • In 2017, DGTL produced just under 10 tonnes of demolition waste, mainly from stages and decorations that were built in a “linear way”. In 2018, the festival promoted more circularity : all materials bought, sold, or used on the festival grounds – from infrastructure to food – are destined for high-value reuse. This means that 100% of waste is collected and processed for recovery back into either economic or ecological cycles.
This japanese pub is made out of 100% recycled materials:

Suppliers / Partners

  • Ecobooth is a lab of research which focuses on waste minimization during events. They offer solutions to rethinking the way business events are created through strategic innovation, while only using materials for event production that are recycled, recyclable or biodegradable.
  • Deconstruction : BatiRIM anticipates by digitally mapping what can be reused or recycled, and protects them during the deconstruction. Deconstructing rather than destructing.

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#3 Do it yourself:
create a second life

Transform your wood and metal waste into new products. Prior knowledge is not compulsory, you might just need tools, creativity and time.

Possible if: you ensure the security of your new products for future users, and your own, when using different tools !

Save money, differentiate yourself: unique designed pieces.

Cost time
And the industrialisation of upcycled products can required large investments.

Inspirations

  • Pallets can become a garden lounge with imagination and an engine car become art with a welding workshop. WhitesIndustrial transform aluminium barrils into a chair

Suppliers / Partners

  • Based in Normandy, Recycl’et Bois and L’Ameublerie help their clients by designing spaces and selling furniture using old and recycled wood, especially from pallets. They upcycle those materials by creating modern goods (from bar funitures to lamps, bow tie…)
  •  UpCycly works on the creation of co-working spaces. Makesense headquarter’s furnitures in Paris have been largely derived from upcycled wood materials

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#4 Sort out and recycle

Wood: waste timber can be recycled into usable new products, such as wooden panels. Wood can be turned into wood chips and fibers.

Metals: Ferrous metals are highly recyclable, especially steel. Aluminum is 100% recyclable to infinity.

Possible if: there is a recycling industry in your country/city.

Gain trust: show that you care.

Cost money: depends on your location, supplier and type of material/furniture.

Examples

  • Read our article Choose and implement waste containers smartly
  • Recycled wood can be transformed, such as Naturalpeak does, creating clothes made from the pulp of wood fibers
  • During the Glastonbury Festival “all the wood used by the Festival is locally sourced and wherever possible, FSC-assured, ensuring it is sustainably sourced. At the end of the festival all wooden structures are dismantled and the wood is chipped and used around the farm.”

Suppliers / Partners

  • As an individual, contact the nearest recycling facility or your local authority and for companies, check with local waste operators, such as Etcheto, Eco-3D, SUEZ’s onetwotri, SICSA…
  • (Check your national regulations, in Europe, sorting wood and metal is often a legal obligation for companies)

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This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling  waste in tourism & events”

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