3.3 Peats Ridge Festival in Australia

Peats Ridge Festival, Glenworth Valley, Australia

Peats Ridge Festival is an Art & Music festival founded in 2004 to bring together music, art and community sustainability.  The festival is situated an hour or so out of Sydney Australia in the stunning greenfield site Glenworth Valley, Peats Ridge.

The festival comprises of award winning sustainable operation practices, a stellar local and international lineup of artists and musicians and sustainability workshops covering issues as diverse as corporate social responsibility through to composting and grey water treatment systems.

Embedded sustainability

The festival is driven by a series of policy documents outlining Peats Ridge policy on a range of issues such as procurement, transport, communications and climate change. Staff contracts are bound to sustainability key progress indicators ensuring that all staff are “on the sustainability team”.

Environmental initiatives

Some of the environmental initiatives featured at the festival include;


Peats Ridge manages waste to maximize return rates of recyclables including food waste. Using a system of 3 bins, compostable waste (incorporating mostly biodegradable food containers and putrecible food waste), recyclables such as cans, cardboard and plastic vessels, and material for traditional disposal. This layout combined with monitored bins to assist people in correctly sorting their waste ensures Peats Ridge generates high grade waste streams ideal for reuse.

Some material is sorted and composted on site to generate quality compost to maintain site fertility. The rest of the waste stream is sent to a local professional composter to be reprocessed into agricultural supplies.

Recycling is sorted on site and high recovery rates have been achieved through an onsite container deposit levy. A dollar deposit attached to each can or bottle ensures that almost all cans and bottles are returned for recycling. A good second benefit is that the festival site is clean as a whistle and kids and adults too can make a few extra dollars by picking up other peoples discarded containers.


Peats Ridge uses 100% renewable energy. In the office we use accredited solar power direct from the grid and in the field we use a combination of solar power and bio-diesel generators. We are working to maximize energy efficiency through careful management of stage loads and use of low power sound and lighting options such as LED lighting and simple energy efficiency policies such as turning of unnecessary lights in the office, switching off computers and a culture of resource efficiency.

Grey water reuse

Traditionally Peats Ridge has treated greywater onsite for reuse to maintain the site and assist its recovery after each festival. In 2010 we are developing an enlarged reed bed system to recycle all grey water generated on the site in consultation with the local council.

Green procurement

Good procurement practices are at the heart of most of Peats Ridges environmental initiatives. The festival favors reuse in its decorations and materials with almost all decorations and furniture onsite being made from recycled and reused materials.

Compostable waste streams are supported through only procuring 100% compostable and recycled materials such as cane bargasse and by engaging stallholders to ensure all stores on site make use of biodegradable packaging.

Peats Ridge favors locally sourced organic food and provides rebates to store holders that can demonstrate use of organic foods.

Grey water reuse is assisted through procurement of low chemical cleaning products with best grey water and environmental performance.

Sustainability capacity building

The festival aims to develop the sustainability capacity of festivalgoers themselves. It does this through clear signage about initiatives on site and through workshops that are held throughout the festival on issues across a range of topics as broad as corporate social responsibility through to composting. Each year thousands of attendees learn and participate in these workshops.


Peats Ridge aims to minimise the impact of transport to and from the festival by streamlining our own logistics to minimise emissions, favoring public transport and biking and favoring local products.

We work to minimise the festivals impacts by providing mass transport options such as busses to the festival. An online car-pooling gateway to encourage people to travel together, a escorted bike ride too and from the festival and a levy on each car entering the festival. Car levy funds are used for local conservation projects, carbon offsets and site remediation costs.

Enhancing our Biodiversity

Peats Ridge uses some of the money generated by the vehicle levy to restore habitat for endangered animals in the local area. Peats Ridge is currently working on a site in our local LGA to restore habitat for endangered frog and bird species.

Knowledge sharing

Peats Ridge is still on the road to true sustainability but we share our journey through the “Model Event” gateway on the festival website. This provides a transparent reporting loop on festival practices and is part of our contribution to sustainable event practices for everyone.

Please see our website www.peatsridgefestival.com.au for more information.

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