With the privilege of using the beautiful Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla comes a responsibility to look after this precious environment. Century-old Moreton Bay Figs and hundreds of other trees provide a canopy of shade on hot summer days, with vast lawns and endangered flora spreading over the 34-hectare park.
The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide purchased the land for the park in 1866 and the WOMADelaide Foundation has been hiring it for festivals since 1992.
WOMADelaide takes great pride in doing as much as possible to protect the park (extreme weather conditions notwithstanding) and to return it to the Botanic Gardens in near-perfect condition. In 2013, WOMADelaide was the Winner of the Partnerships Project in the Premier's Natural Resources Management Award for our relationship with Greening Australia
For more than 15 years now, Greening Australia and WOMADelaide have been working together to measure the festival’s carbon emissions footprint, and plant carbon-storing native trees and shrubs to offset it.
This award-winning collaboration sees $2 from every ticket sold invested back into tree plantings to create native, biodiverse forests in regional South Australia.
As of the end of 2022, the WOMADelaide forests now cover 107 hectares on Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk Country.
For the most recent plantings in 2022, Greening Australia collaborated with the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board and invited the community to help bring the WOMADelaide forest to the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, supporting the Back from the Brink Project.
This project restored 17 hectares of shrubland and woodland heath to help the endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and the critically endangered Beautiful Firetail Finch.
Image: This group of volunteers braved the wintry weather to help Greening Australia and Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board team members plant WOMADelaide trees in 2022.
The WOMADelaide community’s contribution is making a noticeable difference even in young plantings, with bird species returning in growing numbers and increasing insect and plant diversity.
The largest planting site of 50 hectares is located near Langhorne Creek between the Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park and the Bremer River. This restoration site has now matured into a functioning mallee woodland, which at last count was supporting 70 bird species, including rare and threatened bird species like the Hooded Robin and Diamond Firetail.
Where To Next?
Greening Australia’s management of the WOMADelaide forests is ongoing, to ensure they continue to function as woodland ecosystems which provide habitat for our unique Australian species.
We are all responsible for contributing to climate change, and you can play an active role in the solution by offsetting carbon emissions produced by you or your organisation through plantings managed by Greening Australia.
Following the success of the initiatives to replace disposable bar cups with reusables, WOMADelaide has further reduced the use of single-use containers and increased the number of drinks sold in reusable cups.
In 2023, over 150,000 single use cups were prevented from entering the waste system. This site-wide project was facilitated by our dedicated WOMADelaide Cup Squad and supported by Bettercup, who washed over 35,000 cups per day across the 4 days of the festival.
This equates to preventing 1.25 tonnes (1,250kg) of plastic from entering the waste stream.
Want to get involved with the 2024 Cup Squad? Contact Sustainability Coordinator hugh[at]womadelaide.com.au
To reduce reliance on plastic products and remove landfill items from being sold at the festival, we have taken the following steps.
WOMADelaide aims to be a completely zero-waste-to-landfill event, currently diverting 97.5% of all waste away from landfill (as of 2023).
In 2001 WOMADelaide was the first major event in Australia to adopt a waste management strategy that meant only biodegradable and recyclable wastes were produced by festival goers - this included cups, plates, crockery, serviettes and any items sold in packaging. In 2009, the three bin system that can now be seen at many other festivals was implemented, and in 2015 we upgraded our requirements to mandate that only compostable cups, utensils and packaging was used.
Sustainable waste management is an important part of the festival’s operating considerations with WOMADelaide’s waste management program being coordinated by Australian Green Clean, market leaders in the delivery of high quality and environmentally sustainable cleaning and waste management. Working in partnership with SITA and Jeffries, Australian Green Clean provides a ‘zero waste’ solution to WOMADelaide by diverting waste away from landfill and into a sustainable pathway, including hand-sorting of waste on-site as required.
All organic waste generated at WOMADelaide is mulched by Jeffries, treated for composting and delivered back to and used by the Botanic Gardens. Jeffries provides this mulch free of charge. In recent years we have been able to return up to 16 tonnes of composted green waste from the festival as organic mulch for use by the Botanic Gardens.
Importantly, Australian Green Clean are also helping to educate the WOMADelaide volunteer Green Team on our waste management pathways and reclamation efforts with guided tours of their processing facilities. The WOMADelaide Green Team is on-hand throughout the festival to help educate and direct patrons on our waste streams and recycling efforts.
WOMADelaide instituted the use of fully compostable cups at all bars in 2014, and in 2018 the festival moved to providing re-usable cups and water bottles at all bars to engage in circular economy practices. Each cup is designed to be re-used as much as possible and collected at the end of the event to be used at the next festival (or other festivals and events across the country), as we try to move further towards a waste-free, circular economy. In 2020, we also eliminated entirely the sale of single-use plastics in the form of PET plastic drink bottles from our participating stallholders and vendors.
Where possible, we have been investigating alternatives to disposable cable ties, with a number of new methods being trialed on an ongoing basis since WOMADelaide 2019, including investing in over 3000 re-usable ties. Read more HERE.
ACE Outdoor Board
In 2023, WOMADelaide introduced ACE Outdoor board to the Festival site. ACE outdoor is a 100% compostable product. Where possible we continue to retain wayfinding and site signage for more than one year, and will build on this for 2024 and beyond.
WOMADelaide encourages patrons attending the event to ride a bike. The festival offers staffed bike parks at each of the main entrances to accommodate more than 700 bikes.
Don't Park Your Butt in the Park!
WOMADelaide has been a smoke-free event since 2017. Festival goers wishing to smoke will be able to do so in the designated smoking areas near the Frome and Hackney Road entrances. Please ensure you dispose of your cigarette butts appropriately in the butt bins provided in these areas.
Help Us Look After The Park
Botanic Park is the ‘green heart’ of Adelaide – 34 hectares of century old trees, vast lawns and endangered flora. WOMADelaide is in the enviable position of having the privilege to stage the festival on these grounds.
Please do not climb on the trees, hang anything from the branches or damage other flora.
In 2022 WOMADelaide partnered with Green Power Solutions to explore new ways to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuel use. The partnership introduced the diesel-alternative B100 - 100% biodiesel (fuel made entirely from organic matter, such as food waste, with zero mineral diesel) - to power the Frome Park Pavilion and The Planet Talks stage.
The project involved sourcing a biodiesel compatible generator and the use of approximately 1,000 litres of biodiesel, both supplied by Green Power Solutions.
Aimed as a proof-of-concept model for other outdoor events in Adelaide, WOMADelaide hopes to expand on the success of this biodiesel project to continue to reduce the sector's reliance on fossil fuels and continue to lower the emissions generated by the event. This project was the first time in South Australia that a large-scale outdoor event has used 100% biofuel to reduce fossil fuel usage and cut down emissions.