Over the weekend, 20,000 punters packed out Wollongong’s Stuart Park for the annual Yours and Owls Festival. The ever-growing music festival has evolved into a celebration of everything great the Gong has to offer and is constantly introducing new ideas to create a unique festival experience.

This year the festival saw a massive positive change regarding waste. The team at Yours and Owls collaborated with Plastic Free Wollongong to create a single-use plastic free festival! What an achievement!

There were no single-use plastic cups to be found at the bar or water stations. Instead, reusable Globelet cups were available for a small deposit and could either be taken home or refunded.

Similarly, reusable water bottles were available for purchase and could be refilled for free at any of the water tanks scattered around the site. Punters were also encouraged to bring their own water bottles to the festival, providing they were empty and not made of glass.

All food stalls were required to serve food on compostable plates or bowls and to provide wooden cutlery that was FCS certified. That means all waste produced by the festival could either be recycled or composted. This drastically reduced the amount of waste heading to landfill and stopped 15,000 single-use plastic items from being unnecessarily used over the weekend.

We love that simple, well-thought-out design and packaging can have such a massive and noticeably positive impact on the environment. Especially when that environment is our own beautiful Wollongong beaches and parks!

Music festivals are often notorious for being detrimental to the land they’re held on and often produce tonnes of landfill waste in just a few days. We love that local businesses such as Yours and Owls, as well as the many food stalls and other groups that were involved in bringing the festival together, were willing to make big changes that have an even bigger impact. We hope that other music festivals take note of the changes being made in the Gong and start to implement more sustainable options too!

As businesses and individuals, we need to question the norms of easy and convenient packaging and start looking towards eco-friendly packaging and design. It may cost a few extra dollars, but it won’t cost the earth and that is always worth the investment.