War On Waste


You've got on board with our plan to separate waste into streams, you've respected our single use plastic free policy, you've understood what we were trying to achieve and you've treated all our green team volunteers like the legends they are. For that we say thank you!

As anyone who has been to QMF will know, we live in a special place - pristine beaches, soaring sandstone cliffs and internationally recognised bays and wetlands. Queenscliff is a spectacular place to stage a music festival.

You will also be aware there's been huge changes within the waste industry which impacts on what we put in the bin.

In 2018, QMF set out to review the impact the Festival has on the environment and put in place a plan for the future. Our goal wash to divert 80% of waste generated at the Festival from landfill. We smashed it! 

2021 PLANS

This year our focus is on:

  • continuing to improve waste minimisation across the festival
  • introduction of solar lighting to parts of the festival site
  • exploring development of a mobile event wash facility
  • ongoing education and engagement with our patrons and community
  • investigating ways to further reduce the festival's overall carbon footprint
  • engagement with other events on developing their waste minimisation plans 
  • engaging with local council and traders on broader sustainability initiatives 
  • representation on the region's Event Resource Reduction and Recovery working group


How'd we go?
The Festival exceeded its targets, achieving a landfill diversion rate of 95% sending 178kg the equivalent of just 6.5 wheelie bins of waste to landfill!

Key stats:

  • QMF achieved a 95% landfill diversion rate
  • The equivalent of just 6.5 wheelie bins of waste was sent to landfill
  • The festival reduced general waste by 82%
  • By moving to re-usable crockery across the event, organic waste was reduced by 58%
  • QMF continued to reduce the amount of soft plastics collected at the festival.
  • No co-mingle (yellow lid) materials were collected, rather all materials were separated into individual recyclable streams
  • QMF has turned soft plastics collected into building materials for use at the 2020 festival.
  • Spare food, meals and ingredients from vendors was provided to Feed Me Bellarine and distributed to those in need across the Bellarine region.


We received loads of great feedback such as:

"... the best sustainable recycling stations. There was no rubbish and wonderful volunteers." Lisa
"... greenest waste management ever! Well done again QMF!" Melissa
"Absolutely amazing effort! Very impressive. I loved the idea of reusable crockery. Shows it can be done." Jennie
"It was a win, win. So much nicer and easier to eat with recyclable bowls and utensils. Your volunteers were outstanding. You have set the benchmark for all other festivals." Gary
" It was awesome!!!... It should be the standard across society!" Jodie
"It was a fabulous effort by you QMF!! You empowered people! Loved eating out of a real bowl, cups etc and it was noticeable around the venues there was no rubbish!!" Jill


We want to thank our war on waste partners in Caring for our Bays/Bellarine Catchment NetworkB. Alternative and Barwon South West Waste & Resource Recovery Group for their support, advice and commitment in achieving these results.


How'd we go?

We worked closely with local experts and organisations in the environment and waste sectors to develop a plan that would see REAL CHANGE in the way waste is handled at a large event and provide a blue print for other events.

The Festival exceeded its targets, achieving a landfill diversion rate of 90.07% - sending the equivalent of just 32 wheelie bins of waste to landfill!

Key stats:

  • QMF achieved a 90.7% landfill diversion rate
  • 42% of this was organics which was turned into compost for re-use. 
  • The equivalent of just 32 wheelie bins of waste was sent to landfill
  • By using reusable and fully compostable coffee cups (including the lids), over 2,500 single use coffee cups we removed from landfill. 
  • By using compostable food service ware (plates, cutlery etc) QMF offset 4 tonnes of carbon emissions and avoided 592kg of plastic being made
  • QMF turned 210kg of soft plastics collected into 3 picnic tables for community use throughout the year (currently on loan to the local Football/Netball club).


We received loads of great feedback such as:

"The treatment of waste was superb this year - volunteers at bins was excellent and I hardly saw any single use water bottles - good on you and well done."
"Well done for your efforts on the War on Waste this Festival. The volunteers at the waste bins was an excellent way to make sure the right bins were used."
"The angels at the War on Waste bins were fabulous and I told many of them so. A well thought out system implemented in a way that made me feel like I was part of a good thing."
"Great festival, l was a green team volunteer and 99 % of the public were congratulating us on our job and the cause we were promoting. quite a lot of people saw how we can change our rubbish practices."


Our plan was based on simple premise:

  1. Get the right people on the bus
  2. Have a plan
  3. Have the hard conversations
  4. Communicate
  5. Celebrate the wins.
1.  We used existing measures and models as a baseline, in particular the Hierarchy of Waste Reduction


We created a process of continual review.

  • Consultation was key - we’re event organisers by trade, not experts in waste minimisation. We consulted widely and engaged the services of people that live and breathe this area. 
  • Create a waste profile. We researched the waste that we generate, the waste similar events create and considered what we were likely to generate in the future.
  • Considered which waste streams we could reduce, limit or remove altogether.
  • Considered what we had control over (ie waste generated on site vs waste brought onto the site)
  • Considered what streams could re-used or recycled and what we needed to do to achieve that.


What fell out of that for us was that in year 1, separation would be key.

We identified a number of streams we could capture, worked out how these could be captured and what resources (infrastructure and labour) would be required to achieve this.


The plan was that we would setup 5 x manned bin hubs across the site - reducing the number of bins front of house from over 100 to 40. 

  • Manning of these hubs would be key to ensuring minimal contamination and strong patron engagement. 
  • We were keen to tie the design of the hubs in with the local Caring for our Bays engagement campaigns by incorporating their imagery and messaging. 
  • We worked extensively with contractors to determine the resourcing required to achieve our targets.

We trialled new technologies such as the conversion of plastic waste from the event (ie plastic wrap around beer slabs, pallet wrap and ice bags) into community assets in picnic tables - diverting all this waste from landfill. It’s a transition technology however it played an important part in use achieving our aims. These picnic benches are now loaned to the community for use all year round

 If you would like any further information on QMF's War on Waste, please contact our office via hello(at)qmf.net.au or 03 5258 4816.



QMF's War on Waste Partners

We sincerely thank our awesome war on waste partners for their ongoing support, advice and commitment to our aims in minimising waste at the Festival.

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