AWARE Volunteers & Regional Recycling Undertake Recycling Raid at SVMF Campsites

AWARE and Regional Recycling teamed up again over the first weekend in August to help the Squamish Valley Music Festival divert recyclables from landfill.  A small army of dedicated waste warriors came out to help with Recycling Raids at the campgrounds.

In all over 100 people came out to help, with staff and raiders dedicating over 660 on-site hours to collecting beverage bottles, cans and containers from four campsites.  Early estimates from Regional Recycling are that we collected over 80,000 beverage containers!

We cannot say thank you enough to all the AWESOME folk who literally ‘mucked-in’ to help over the weekend.  In return for their fantastic efforts the festival organisers gave each volunteer a pass to that evenings show, meaning we had some raiders who joined us just for a day and some who helped out every day! Again Thank You!

In addition to diverting recyclables from the waste stream, our shared efforts resulted in the estimated donation of $6000 to AWARE, meaning a double-whammy for the environment!

Check out some pics from the weekend below:


The simple but effective collection stations Regional Recycling set up in each campsite at the Squamish Valley Music Festival.


AWARE coordinated over one hundred and fifty volunteers to divert recyclables from SVMF waste.


Waste Not Want Not – not so much! This was the waste generated from the area around 4 tents!


This is how good it feels to volunteer (and get free SVMF tickets)!


So Many Solo Cups! – This whole bag of Solo Cups were collected in less than 45 minutes from one campsite – makes you realize how wasteful those flip-cup and beer pong games can be.


Rocking the Pink – Helly Hansen Whistler donated some high-vis vests to help keep us visible! Beautifully modeled by some of our volunteers.


As AWARE is increasingly being asked by Whistler event organisers to help with waste minimisation at events, we were excited to help with the SVMF to see how these mega-scale events are working to combat waste reduction.  What the experience confirmed was that no matter what the scale there are some key areas on which to focus:

  • Education – ensure people know how waste is being managed at that particular event, whether it be colour-coded bags, collection points, etc.  Events are also a great opportunity to communicate broader waste issues to the public
  • Prior Planning – careful planning of infrastructure, tote placement, signage, material purchasing choices, etc. all play a vital part in maximising diversion from events
  • Focus Resources Wisely – waste is traditionally an area that is undervalued.  Managing waste comes at a cost and budgets are often limited.  Focusing attention on your predominant streams is a good start for minimisation.
  • Work Your Way to the Detail – if an event wants to maximise reduction it might need to consider sorting some waste post-consumer.  This means a team goes through the waste to pull out  recyclables, organics, etc.  It requires staffing, budget and a suitable facility, but this is how large corporations and events have successfully maximised diversion from landfill.
  • Empower People  – choices are ours to make.  Waste minimisation starts with re-thinking the way we consume.  Plastic Water bottles & cups have reusable alternatives, as do paper plates and plastic cutlery.  Tents, pillows, sleeping bags, tarps, coolers, camping chairs can be used repeatedly rather than abandoned on a campsite after a weekends use.  We can all work on our own zero waste journeys as together we create the whole.

There is no such place as ‘away’.  When we throw anything away it must go somewhere  ~ Annie Leonard.

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