Waste Not, Want Not: How Arcadia is Increasing its Commitment to Sustainability


This year Arcadia will increase its commitment to caring for their beautiful festival site and the world at large. Arcadia has always had a strong commitment to preserving the habitat they utilise. The event space is donated and that donation alone comes with a certain level of responsibility. But, as organisers the Arcadia team also takes their mandate to protect the environment at large very seriously. This year will see new approaches to reducing waste and the event’s footprint, added to a festival that already takes a pro-active stance to sustainability. New changes predominantly focus around engaging punters to assume the mantle. There is a strong belief that the most drastic changes will be effected when everyone plays a part as opposed to token efforts to reach some requisite level of ‘CSR’.

Contrary to popular opinion, the team behind Arcadia doesn’t believe that sustainability should come at a huge financial cost. Quite the opposite, by taking an approach that seeks to re-imagine, re-use, and re-cycle materials to create their festival, site they keep costs low while adding to the scope of the festival year on year. It’s a core ethos that goes hand in hand with its rural setting. An ethos that reflects a way of life on the farm, repair and repurpose, never just throwout and replace. It is an important idea, often forgotten in an increasingly disposable world. To this core philosophy and their existing waste management practices, Arcadia has added four new initiatives aimed at reducing waste, lowering carbon emissions, and giving back to the local community, a community at the mercy of an increasingly unstable climate.

This year Arcadia will seek to slash the amount of landfill generated over the course of the festival. Materials that are disposable will be completely cut out from the budget leaving space and money for recyclable solutions. The way in which food and beverage is served is another way to greatly minimise how much trash is created. All food and beverage will be served with re-usable tableware and cutlery, eliminating paper and plastic usage.

Leave no trace. Punters will be encouraged to think about how much rubbish they use in a single weekend. Arcadia will take all recyclables from the site, however attendees will be asked to take all non-recyclable trash with them when the go. Biodegradable trash bags will be provided upon arrival.

Car emissions are a large contributor to the carbon foot print of an event like this, but thankfully this impact can be easily and meaningfully lowered. Car pooling or taking the Arcadia bus will be strongly encouraged this year through the use of a parking levy tied directly to the amount of spare seats in a car. A parking levy of $30 per car will be off-set by $5 for each occupied seat (two seaters will have a discount of $10 per seat filled). If you bring a full load you will pay only $5 to park. One person to a car? That’s $25. This money goes directly back into Arcadia’s environmental management fund to cover costs of restoring and maintaining the site. If you need to find a ride or some bodies to share yours - simply put your details in the Arcadia Car Pool Spreadsheet and then post to the Facebook Event .

The environmental policy this year will go beyond looking after the immediate site. With a drought ravaging 60% of Queensland, Arcadia will endeavor to give something back to the local and wider regional area that has been home to the event for four years. Showers will be free to use as always but punters will be strongly urged to consider the cost of water, especially in times like these. A gold coin donation will be requested each time you shower and funds raised will go directly back into drought relief program ‘Buy a Bale’.

Small changes aimed at engaging every single attendee that comes through the gate can have a large impact and ignite a drive in people to continue the fight long after the festival has ended.

Eddie Kingswell