Set on a leafy 108-hectare island on the Danube in Budapest with more than 1,000 performances across 60 stages, for seven days with half a million people from all over the world, Sziget Festival has established itself as one of the largest and most popular festivals in the world.
Acknowledging their responsibility to minimise the festival’s ecological footprint, Sziget Festival has been committed to reducing its environmental impact for almost 20 years.
2019 see’s Sziget launch their ‘Green Sziget’ sustainability programme, aiming to minimise their potential negative impact on the natural world.
With a dedicated approach towards raising awareness for environmental sustainability during the lead-up, duration and break down of the festival, Sziget has determined five important key areas of impact creating a strategic sustainability practice applicable to each area. This will encourage a steady improvement in becoming as environmentally friendly as possible with the hope of also inspiring neighboring events.
1. Waste Production and Management
Reducing and recycling waste created throughout the festival.
About 30-40% of the waste produced during the event can be reused. The goal is to minimise waste and achieve a 50% recycling rate at least. They strive to achieve this by: Selling drinks in reusable cups, allocating freshwater points for water refill; asking vendors to distribute napkins, take away boxes, utensils, plates and straws made from biodegradable materials only. Promoting the Don’t suck! program, encouraging attendees to refuse straws. Handing out pocket ashtrays; Collecting cardboard; Installing recycling bins throughout the island. Distributing trash and recycling bags to attendees; Collecting tents, sleeping bags and mats on the last day of Sziget at the three Recycling Centers and donating them to local charities; Working with volunteers who help picking up waste from the site and recycling at the Recycling Centers; Collecting and composting food waste at the mobile composting plant located on the island; Collecting cooking oil separately and disposing of it properly.
2. Energy and Emissions
Repurposing, redistributing and monitoring energy where possible.
Energy use is a necessity at festivals, therefore using the most efficient methods to put the least pressure on the environment is of paramount importance. Sziget will create a dining block where environmentally-conscious vendors gather and where meal preparations will produce lower CO 2 emissions. Commercial units will be equipped with standalone meters, providing them with energy efficiency advice. Volunteers will help to monitor which of the proposed measures were implemented by festival partners; LED lighting throughout the festival site; Renewable energy to power various elements of the festival, as well as city power used throughout the site (no aggregators) and ensuring green energy is used where possible.
Promoting shared travel and sustainable travel methods.
Transportation is one of the largest contributors to the festival’s impact on the environment, thus Sziget is supporting the use of sustainable travel methods to reduce the impact, they are: Promoting train services and special shuttle trains for all visitors. Providing a shuttle bus service between Budapest Airport and Sziget; Promoting the Sziget Boat which runs between Jászai Mari Square and Sziget Festival. Encouraging attendees to use public transport in the city, which runs more frequently during the festival. Providing free bike storage and a quick repair facility, offering bike rental services, encouraging festival staff to use the bikes allocated for them; Introducing electric vehicles for festival staff to use on-site. Bringing attention to other types of sustainable transport, such as carsharing.
Green Shower Initiative, ECO toilets, Ecocamping.
Conscious water use is a must in today’s world and Sziget Festival is applying measures to protect watercourses. The festival is committed to minimise water use and take care of the waterways by: Applying the Green Shower Initiative, in which we encourage attendees to cut back on their shower time; Monitoring the Danube riverbank more closely to make sure that no waste gets in the water; Using ECO toilets with vacuum flushing technology to save 85% more water at the Ecocamping; Encouraging the use of biodegradable cleaning products; Using time-limited push stop taps to prevent the wasting of precious water.
5. Land Use
Recultivating the land and introducing biodegradables.
As Sziget Festival takes place on the beautiful island of Óbuda every year, they are dedicated to do everything in order to come back and experience the breath-taking diversity of nature year after year. The measures taken to achieve this, are:
Assessing the environmental impacts of the festival; Recultivating the territory of the festival, to give it back to the public in the condition they received it; Introducing biodegradable cleaning chemicals to ensure we do not harm the soil; Preparing a public Sustainability Report to keep track and monitor all progress, in order to learn more about how effective their policies and measures have been.
Further to this, Sziget has also taken the following steps:
Sziget recognizes that reducing their impacts require unabated efforts to establish the best practices. Therefore, this Sustainability Policy will be reviewed and updated annually.
Please see full Green Sziget Programme here.