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A Stellar Green Event

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Article by Greg Howell

Climate Wave Enterprises Profile | Email | Website
Climate Wave Enterprises Climate Wave Enterprises assists your event to become
sustainable, identifying impacts on the environment and
society, lowering costs, implementing sustainability
practices to minimise adverse effects, leaving a positive
legacy to the community.

Whether you're staging a birthday party, wedding, sporting event, a music festival or a corporate gathering, we'll reduce the impact of your event on the planet.
3/12 Wagawn St
Australia 4224
0414 939 942

The dust is settling and the swell dropped away after a stellar green event at theSurfrider Foundation Eco Challenge Sunshine Coast. I’m absolutely gobsmacked formulating a list of people, businesses and organisations that came together to make this event a reality and at the end of this blog I’ll mention them all.

It is a very strange feeling the process of organising an event half a year away from the day and now I understand why most aficionados of this industry are to say it mildly a bit quirky.

This event was pulled together on a shoestring budget which made it even more heartening that so many people and businesses came to the party with undying support. What made it extraordinary was that this event aimed to achieve a high level of sustainability and ethical standards which was reached thanks to much input by the many.

I know in my advertising Climate Wave I say “it’s easy being green” which once you train your mind towards that objective it is but the wobbly’s thrown up make it extra interesting. Like the example of procuring the hire of a BioDiesel generator & fuel to power the Eco Market Stall area worked out due to lack of availability a normal generator had a lesser carbon footprint.

So what do you do different to create a sustainable/green event?

To start with the main drive towards greening an event must come from the main organisers and permeate throughout the whole collective not leaving anyone out including key stakeholders, supply chain & even the peripheries. Every single person that has a role needs to consider each step, does that component have a greener option? And as we discovered the initial obvious product, service or practice might not be the most sustainable.

The areas that we were able to improve on from a normal event:

Power – you could say we went totally overboard with this component but geez it’s been satisfying :)

  • We instigated the process along with Maceco & Green Initiatives for the installation of a 50 kilowatt/200 solar panel system as a legacy for Kawana Surf Life Saving Club which has immediately reduced their power bill and is guaranteed for 25 years.


Waste – can never be underestimated or the value of controlling this component so not to blow out costs.

waste monitors

Eco Challenge Green Team

  • We had a secret weapon when it came to this multi faceted difficult component…we had Lisa Flower from Waste to Resource to guide and nurture us through while learning much on the way.  When & where was the last event you went to that had a four bin system, yes four…waste, recycle, organics & food scraps. With Waste to Resource guidance saw us achieve a legendary 93% diversion from landfill which is exceptional for a first time effort at Eco Challenge.

Toilets – yes you can even green your dunny.

chemical free toilets

All smiles for Natural Event toilets

  • Months before the event I had contacted the only company that I knew who provided an alternative to the standard chemical foul smelling cubicles but they were touring Europe providing their Natural Event to some very popular festivals. Fortunately Hamish Kremer contacted me while bumping out from Island Vibe Festival and honored us with his amazing composting waste system before heading south for the summer festival season.

Printing – we would have liked to avoid this completely but this year we took the holistic approach to advertising still including this medium for now.

  • The bulk of our printing which was mainly the posters was done with green waterless printers who use soy inks. This year some other printing using standard methods was necessary but will be phased out.

Venue – connecting with the surf club opened up significant advantages.

  • The event has to date been held in a park only without connection to any existing structures. In this instance it didn’t change our format of structures but it will be considered to use more of the venue instead of hiring a stage for example. The surf club were incredibly helpful and took on the onus of organising a liquor license, security, fencing & extra staff which would not have been possible without them.

Water – using an existing structure/venue didn’t allow us to have any say in water usage.

  • By using Natural Event waterless toilets saved considerable wastage of this valuable resource which is far too often squandered. Also the Unity Water Hydration Station was onsite to keep thirsty punters from dying out. Not that this process saved any water but it worked in well with Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign.

Education – what at a festival you might ask.

  • The day was full of educational messages, some in your face but mostly subtle with the general consensus being the crowd were more than keen to take them on board.

Legacy – the main benefit to the community was mentioned above in Power.

  • The second part of the legacy is that friends of the event can purchase a solar system for their home or business and Green Initiative will donate $500 to either Surfrider Foundation or Kawana Surf Life Saving Club. We hope we left several other legacies also by interacting with the crowd and portraying the green components of the event.

Transport – The surf club provided an extensive bus shuttle service.

  • The surf club bus shuttle service and available car parking at the local school was effective to reduce traffic flows from the immediate area.

Catering – as this was a plastic free event we made special plans early to address this.

  • The best laid plans don’t always come to fruition. We had advised all stall holders not to bring plastic in any form to the event and even directed them to a company that would supply alternative compostables. To be 100% effective all products brought onsite should be scrutinised and those unacceptable be removed from the event.

Promotion & Marketing – was generated from individuals home offices so effective means of greening were not possible.

  •  Wherever possible our carbon footprint was considered and greener alternatives were used such as Skype meetings.

I am so proud of what our team & supporters have accomplished with the Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge Sunshine Coast event, knowing that the legacy from this one day event will benefit the local environment and community for many years to come.

Greg Howell

Climate Wave Enterprises

working with the planet

23 Nov 2014

Last Update: 7 Apr 2015

Article/Information supplied by Greg Howell

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.