Some of the most dedicated festivalgoers around the world, cable ties have been keeping festivals together for decades. The issue is however, that although massively convenient, they are predominantly single-use, and in the blur of an event pack-down, they sometimes don’t like to leave once they’re told to go home…

With our target of becoming a completely zero waste-to-landfill festival, we felt this was an issue that needed addressing.

Welcome Hallet Cove School’s Year 5/6 class, who as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) unit focussing on design processes, sought to investigate possible issues surrounding the wider use of cable ties in the event space and explore alternatives.

WOMADelaide played the “client”, providing a brief of needs, uses and specifications for the students to consider and respond to, to practice employing design-process ideas with a sustainable lens to real-world issues.


An intial ‘scope’ of the student’s local area found 36 littered cable ties, with other expeditions adding more and more to their collection. Research amongst parents and staff found that the plastic shackles were almost never re-used, regardless of where they end up.

So What Can Be Done?

Putting their creative minds to work, the kids of Hallet Cove were able to plan, create and present to us some excellent alternative ideas and prototypes. From button operated clips allowing multiple uses of the ties, to the use of biodegradable materials allowing recycling, the project presented many excellent and fresh ideas. It was wonderful to be able to play a part in the student’s design process learning, demonstrating approaches that as an organisation we use regularly to scope for more sustainable operating practices.



WOMADelaide’s current efforts at waste management have seen a diversion of 98% of all waste away from landfill. Unfortunately, cable ties are part of the 2%.

Currently, we are looking into new products and new approaches inspired by the student’s work. A number of alternatives including different rope-based rigging techniques for scrims, and investing in re-usable cable ties have been assessed so far, and we expect to be employing some of these alternatives at WOMADelaide 2019.

Nice to know the future is in safe hands!