until Roskilde Festival 2015 - 27 June to 4 July

How Roskilde Festival’s works with sustainability

Why does Roskilde Festival work with environmental issues?
We are a non-profit organisation, and the work with social responsibility is a cornerstone in the festival’s DNA. We consider our work with environmental consciousness and the strive toward making a sustainable festival a central part of this work.

How long have you been working with environmental issues?
We have been working strategically with the environment since the beginning over the 90’s. Among others we started making an environmental report where we measure our usage of water, electricity, garbage total, deposits and sorting into fractions. During the 90’s, we also started using biodegradable tableware (including our own beer cups), deposit fees on all cups and cans and we got our own train station, so the festivalgoers easily can get to the festival with public transportation.

What environmental initiatives has the festival taken?


  • FOOD – more organic, more local, less food waste.
  • TRANSPORT – our own train station in 1996, 32 electric cars this year, arranged coach travel from Norway, Sweden and Germany, and Roskilde Rideshare (carpooling initiative)
  • GARBAGE – is collected together with the festivalgoers, deposits on cans and cups, sorting behind the food stalls, biodegradable tableware in the food stalls
  • INVOLVING THE FESTIVALGOERS – Green Footsteps campaigns in 2009 and 2010, still Green Camps and garbage events
  • LED lighting – from 0-100% in three years on Sustainable Stage (Odeon)
  • SUSTAINABLE LAB – collaboration with DTU (Technological University) about innovating sustainable solutions

In 2013, we focus particularly on sustainability in food, garbage and transport.

Does Roskilde Festival have an environmental policy?
Yes, and we have had one since the 90’s. Read it here;

  • Resource usage must be reduced as much as possible
  • We must use environmentally friendly products where possible in terms of technology and health, and where it is financially realistic.
  • Garbage needs to be sorted so as much as possible can be recycled.
  • We must show as much consideration as possible for the safety and health conditions of the festivalgoers and volunteers

Is it more sustainable to be at the festival than at home?
In some ways, yes. In 2008, Rambøll made a CO2 account for Roskilde Festival, which showed that a festivalgoer emits 33 kg of CO2 at one Roskilde Festival (including transport, consumption of electricity, garbage generation, but not including food). For a regular citizen that number is approximately 224 kg a week – so something suggests that you make a smaller carbon footprint in the week you spend at Roskilde Festival than you would have done at home.

What kinds of new environmental initiatives do you take this year?
We have new initiatives particularly in food, garbage and transport (see more below).

Which (new) initiatives have you taken to make the food more sustainable?
We have introduced a food waste project where we collect leftovers from Roskilde Festival that can be used in ready-made meals for shelters and drop-in centres. The food waste project was initiated in 2012 with great success, which is why we have chosen to do it again.

Our catering for artists has a sustainable menu based on Nordic ingredients in season.

New in 2013:

  • Roskilde Food Court is an area with 19 new festival food concepts with a minimum of 60% organic products in Hal B/8 (Barn B/8)
  • The volunteer canteen in Hal 45 (Barn 45) has an increased number of sustainable ingredients. Nordic menu based on seasonal ingredients.
  • We use local ingredients in assortment from wholesalers. As a first step, assorted vegetables.
    Sustainability is 1 of the 6 selection criteria for our food stalls
  • This year, we have secured more organic ingredients from our suppliers (these products are fixed for all stalls at RF):

Organic ingredients:
Coffee and tea (also fair-trade, UTZ certified and Rainforest Alliance labelled)
Dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cocoa, cream, sour cream, cheese etc.), juice and fruit syrup
All luxury bottled syrup comes from Bornholms Mosteri. An organic and socioeconomic company that hires employees “on the edge of” the labour market.

New organic ingredients in 2013:
Organic iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and onions, canned tomatoes (chopped, skinned etc.), rice and pasta, dried spices, some also fair-trade. Red- and white wine (1L) is organic.

How much of Roskilde Festival is organic?
Targets for an organic festival in 2013:

Hal 45/Barn 45, volunteer canteen – 45%
Artist catering – 70%
Festival as a whole 30%

What is your focus when working with garbage?
We have taken new initiatives for 2013 based on this overall aim with the garbage disposal effort:

  • A joint responsibility between the festival and the festivalgoers
  • We want to change the garbage disposal culture
  • It has to be easy to dispose of garbage
  • Recycling of resources

What are the festival’s new initiatives for garbage this year?
Cleaner camping areas have been in high demand. This means that B, E, J, K and M are Clean Areas this year, and they have been selected because they are not passage areas, which means that fewer people will walk through the area and leave trash.

As a new measure in the Clean Areas, we have set up Trash Points, which are containers where the festivalgoers can dispose of their trash. This is the first time we have been given permission by the fire authorities to set up containers in the camping squares, and the aim is to make it easier for the festivalgoers to dispose of their trash.

In the Clean Areas you also find our Green Camps – camps that in a creative way bring attention to garbage disposal among the festivalgoers.

Do you sort the waste?
Some of it. In all back areas, stalls and stages have the opportunity to dispose of at least cardboard, inflammable and organic waste; other fractions must be handled at the festival’s two recycling centres.
 In the recycling centres we can sort the waste in 12 fractions.

They are placed centrally from the stalls, by Gate 3 and Depotet i Vor Frue/the waste disposal site at Vor Frue (Behind city centre east) respectively.

As a new initiative, we have also placed a container for waste sorting among the festivalgoers in the Sustainable Zone with the fractions: Metal = beer cans without deposits / Organic waste = food waste, cutlery, plates, biodegradable glasses etc. / Other = cigarette buds and plastic waste.

What else do you do to prevent garbage on the ground?
Again this year, we have the Your Clean Camping initiative, which is a collective garbage collection between our many garbage volunteers and the festivalgoers. 11 platform trucks drive around collecting the garbage bags that the festivalgoers have filled, encourage them to clean up and distribute bags for the festivalgoers. In that way we collect the trash together.

This year we have also put extra resources into Camp Aid, which does the collection of camping equipment and other things that people are not taking home, and gives it to charity. This is carried out on Sunday and Monday by all towers and entrances east and west.

We collect usable and clean camping gear (sleeping bags, camp mattresses, tents, blankets, camping chairs, pillows etc.), clothes, shoes, rubber boots, toys, buckets, water containers, unopened canned food etc.

We have about 100 volunteers from 18 organisations that help sort and pack up the gear and send it off to a number of countries: Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. Furthermore to Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Somalia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania.

For example, last year we collected 629 sleeping bags and 793 camp mattresses. And those are the ones the festivalgoers have handed in themselves. We are hoping for much more this year with the increased effort.

Moreover, our deposit system is an effort to avoid garbage on the ground. There is a deposit on our biodegradable beer and soft drink cups as well as on all cans. We get about 1.5 million cans and about 150,000 are Danish.

Which events can you experience related to garbage?
For the third year in a row the Vallekildes Højskole area, Clean Out Loud in area P, brings attention to garbage through happenings and creative ideas. Among other things, they do a garbage parade, and this year it will be a daily occurrence for the whole festival period where party and garbage is united. In P, you will also be able to experience the Spanish artist group Basurama that makes creative objects out of the garbage, involving the festivalgoers in the process.

How much garbage does the festival generate?
The weight depends on the weather. If it rains, the garbage becomes heavier. Last year, we collected 1,850 tons.

How many people work with garbage?
About 1,000 volunteers.

What initiatives do you take to save electricity?
It is a huge job to even make sure that the festival area gets power (we use generators on the camping area, because we do not have enough electricity in the ground, and we do not have the land at our disposal all year round). In one month we go from an empty field to Denmark’s fourth biggest city, a great logistic challenge.

The light on a stage is what uses the most power. As a consequence, the festival has worked strategically on getting more LED lighting (energy saving) on the stages since 2008, where LED was a relatively new technology. We also had to wait a couple of years for the right LED lighting to be developed.

From 2008 to 2011 we went from 0 to 100% LED on Sustainable Stage (Odeon). With these changes we save 70% energy on stage lighting.

Now we also have LED lighting on Orange where we saved 60% energy on stage lighting from 2008 to 2013. Today we have LED on all stages.

Moreover, we have the initiatives for having energy-saving light bulbs or low-energy bulbs in all lamps on the camping area.

This year, all trade stalls will use fluorescent tubes instead of halogen lights for their façades to save energy.

The stages only use a small amount of the electricity used at Roskilde Festival; the trade stalls use most of it and particularly the big refrigerated containers are the big sinners.

Do you use renewable energy?
This year, we have a generator that runs on used frying oil. It comes from our Sustainable Lab (an area situated right across from Odeon) with DTU (Technological University) and hopefully we can get more of them in the future.

How do you involve the festival-goers in subjects such as environment?
We look at it as a big part of the environmental work to create activities for the festivalgoers. For instance we have:

  • Food events in Gloria, organic kitchen in Dream City, Foodjam at City Centre East
  • Pre-festival solar cell workshop for the festivalgoers
  • Art installation by the Spanish artist group Basurama in agora P
  • Clean Out Loud in P, 2,000 festivalgoers, Vallekilde Højskole, involving the festivalgoers in activities to dispose of garbage. Has been running for 3 years.
  • Dream City projects – camps and events that focuses on a more sustainable city 
  • Green Camps in Clean Areas – Green Camps are camps involving the audience in sustainable issues
  • Sustainable Zone – our test area by Odeon, more organic and sustainable food, a sorting container and other sustainable installations
  • Sustainable Lab, development with DTU by Odeon. This laboratory has e.g. designed a generator that runs on frying oil. In 2012 this was used in a back area by Odeon; this year we will use it for charging car batteries and mobile phones. 
  • MakerSpace in Dream City – open source workshop where you can create sustainable solutions and hacks, e.g. build a guitar out of recycled materials and redesign your old t-shirt

FACTS about the environmental area

  • We use about 417,693 kWh for one festival
  • The stages only use a small part of the electricity, the trade stalls use the most of it
  • We have about 20 generators, primarily on the outer festival area where there is no electricity in the ground.
  • We got our own train station in 1996 – about 60% of the festivalgoers arrive by train
  • We use about 10,400 cubic metres of water primarily for showers, trade and toilet-flushing – which is less than what 130,000 people would use at home
  • This year we have been involved in developing an organic food label – a certified labelling scheme for organic provision of event meals
  • Our single-use tableware (beer cups, cutlery, plates) is biodegradable
  • Number of garbage cans: about 3,000 (300 more than in 2012)

In 2012 there turned out to be more interest in Clean than in Silent and Clean. The festivalgoers in Silent and Clean ‘hacked’ Roskilde Festival; some of the festivalgoers in the area entered into a dialogue with the others and collected signatures from everyone in the area saying that they wanted to be able to listen to music until 10:00 at night, and they persuaded the camping guards of this.

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