DGTL is highly aware of its environmental impacts and has one very clear goal; to become the world’s first circular festival. To meet this goal, we fundamentally redesign our events. All year round, we search for the latest technological breakthroughs and innovations to help us close material loops, eliminate CO2 emissions and increase environmental awareness.
Over the past couple of years, DGTL has intensively focused efforts on reducing its ecological footprint. These efforts have resulted in a sustainability program that we now implement at all of our events worldwide, named the “sustainable big three”: reusable hardcups, a smart energy plan and a meat-free menu. These alterations to the DNA of our events drastically lower our CO-emissions, help us save and reuse precious resources and enable us to keep our festival grounds clean.
But the “sustainable big three” is not where we stop and stand still. Our festivals have perfectly defined boundaries and are very similar to cities, as our visitors need drinks, food, electricity, sanitary facilities and shelter. This makes them perfect testing grounds for sustainable and circular technologies of tomorrow. As a result, the DGTL Amsterdam edition always pushes the boundaries of sustainability at festivals by experimenting with state-of-the-art innovations.
At DGTL, over 10.000 meat-free meals are consumed each day, creating a substantial organic waste stream and tens of thousands of used disposables. In 2018 however, DGTL introduced its first “Circular Foodcourt”, converting all of DGTL’s food waste (including the biodegradable disposable plates) to compost using an advanced composting machine. In doing so, we virtually eliminated food waste and moved away from plastic, proving that even large-scale food consumption can become completely circular.
At DGTL Amsterdam 2018, waste became the resource for new products. As such, we moved away from waste collection areas, which are typically tucked away behind the scenes, to a “Resource Street”, which is central for all visitors to see. The Resource Street consisted of a recycle hub and a new technique called pyrolysis. The recycle hub works to separate all visitor waste, so the new “resources” can be picked up for further use. The pyrolysis installation turns bottle caps into oil, which in turn can be used to make new plastic. The most valuable component of the Resource Street is that it allows visitors to discover the value of their own waste and change the narrative from “waste as a problem” to “resources as a solution”.
SEMILLA SANITATION HUB
One of 2018’s innovations was the Semilla Sanitation Hub in collaboration with Innofest. Inside this 40ft shipping container, our tech-team converted urine into drinking water using pioneering technologies. The Semilla sanitation hub could prove to be a true lifesaver during crisis situations, focusing on providing clean drinking water in disasterous areas. Also, when miniaturized, the technology could be implemented in residential housing or self-sustaining communities.