Eco Letter to the Boomers
Our usual eco report
To transform people, to regenerate the land. That’s one of our mottos. Doing Boom is contributing to raise awareness globally, which is why we develop dozens of environmental and social projects. We share with you some of the initiatives and results of the 2022 edition in our usual Eco Letter.
BOOM ENVIRONMENTAL PARADIGM
Our environmental program is guided by a paradigm of 12 variables that unfolds in numerous initiatives.
SUSTAINABLE GOALS BOOM 2020/22
We defined five goals for the 2020/22 edition. We are happy to have accomplished them fully and, regarding food, we overcame it.
WATER: WE BUILT A NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
Climate change is already happening in Portugal. 2022 was a challenging year: we faced one the worst droughts ever recorded. We are already anticipating the future of water scarcity, which is why we built from scratch a brand new wastewater system for the edition of 2020/22:
- New wastewater treatment plant: 100% of the water from showers was sent here. It is being treated, will be recycled and reintroduced for regeneration/reforestation of Boomland.
- We are currently developing an experimental water treatment system with macrophyte plants, aeration, water circulation, and efficient microorganisms. After lab analysis, it will be reintroduced into the Boomland ecosystem.
4 MORE WATER FACTS
We keep on planting native species of trees, shrubs and other plants.
Once again shower times were limited to save on water consumption. Thanks for understanding. At the same time, due to a drought situation the amount of water available from the main grid was less than in previous editions. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We are working on more supply and distribution as we write these words
We increased the amount of dry compost toilets, which use neither water or chemicals.
We measured water consumption taking into account the staff canteen, showers, water points, and food vendors. The result: on average, for each day of the festival, each person consumed around 22 litres of water. It is way below the average of people living in European countries, as you can see on this map. The conclusion is that rationalising shower times and pressure on water points and having toilets that don’t use water, brings about a smaller water footprint.
SANITATION: WE INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF OUR UNIQUE COMPOST TOILETS
- Since 2006 we have continued to increase the number of eco toilets. They’re unique, comfortable, they do not require the use of water or chemicals, and they create soil.
- In 2022 we reached the goal of having 100% compost toilets. For a camping/caravan weeklong festival of around 40,000 people this is something to celebrate.
REFORESTATION: WE BRING MORE BIODIVERSITY TO BOOMLAND
- Every year we plant more trees and shrubs. We planted 75 new trees of seven different species in the Winter of 2022. Previously we planted 925 trees and 120 shrubs. To plant a tree is an act of love, and requires lots of care. Many reforestation campaigns focus on planting thousands/ millions of trees, yet several times lacking the most essential: to care and to water the trees. Therefore our strategy is making sure we care for each and every single one of those beautiful beings instead of bold campaigns.
- We carry out the sowing of 22 hectares for animal feed and other purposes. Animals like sheep help us clean the terrain and boost biodiversity. None are killed nor sold for the food market.
- These measures promote ecosystem maintenance through, for example, soil conservation, water retention, increased biodiversity and carbon capture.
WE MAKE SOIL & ENERGY WITH FOOD LEFTOVERS
- Organic leftovers from food vendors are sent to a third-party composting facility, where they help create soil and energy.
FOOD & NUTRITION: WE SUPPORT PLANT-BASED MENUS
Our approach to food is based on the balance between nutrition, environmental sustainability/regeneration, and supporting local food producers. Thus, we have established that the majority of food options served must be plant-based. In parallel, we do not favour prohibitionism (e.g., mandatory 100% plant-based menus), but rather providing information so everyone may make up their own minds freely but consciously. Know more about our take on food.
The Boom staff canteen feeds our team all year round. Part of its products is sourced from the Boomland veggie garden and orchard, which are 100% organic. Of 38 suppliers that deliver food for the canteen, 71% were regional and 47% were organic.
Know Your Food Charter: it was a tool developed to assess the sustainability level of the food vendors menus. Not all displayed the results. This is something to improve for Boom 2023.
We set a target for 85% of all food options from all food vendors to be plant-based. Fortunately, everyone cooperated and the final result was 86%, a small difference with a big meaning: the sustainability of food options is a concern of everyone involved in feeding the beautiful Boom community.
WASTE: WE KEEP IMPROVING OUR RECYCLING PROTOCOLS
- We abolished plastic bottles at the festival and opted for aluminium cans that have a higher recycling rate.
- The data below shows the figures of recycling during the month of July 2022 (including the festival dates).
- The recycling is done at the regional recycling centre.
WASTE AS A CREATIVE RESOURCE
Shade structures that are used in various editions. Remains of bicycles that make lamps. Dead trees that morph into sculptures. Dance Temple shade that becomes swimwear. Toilets made from car scraps. Urinals and showers done with recycled plastic. Once again in 2022 we made huge strides in circularity: reusing, upcycling and introducing new materials to build Boom.
- Urinals: 5,041 kg of recycled plastic used for the urinals. To make this material, 5,803 kg of plastic were collected from city’ ecopoints.
- Showers: 4,100 kg of recycled plastic used in shower flooring. To make this material, 4,720 kg of plastic were collected from urban recycling bins.
- The new compost toilets were made with recycling by-products of the automotive industry: 3,823 kg of the composite material (coretech) from recycled car interiors used. To make this 4,401 kg of plastic were collected and turned into coretech composite.
Amount of coretech used (recycled car interiors):
360 m2 coretech 8 mm: 25 WCs
675 m2 coretech 12 mm: Showers
360 m2 coretech 15 mm: 16 WCs
Total: 1,395 m2 of coretech
- The Gardens flooring: 100% of The Gardens music stage flooring was made with eco carpet developed by a local factory made with leftovers from the clothing and textile industry.
REUSING & EXTENDING THE LIFE CYCLE OF MATERIALS
- 5,070 m2 of reused fabrics from previous editions to make shades.
We designed and built brand new architecture to be used for several editions, thus minimising the impact of new materials on the environment:
- Alchemy Circle
- The Gardens
- Main Gate
- Playground Alchemy Circle
- 3 x Tori Gates
- The Beacon at Dance Temple
- Samadhi (novel meditation area)
100% Reused Structures:
- Liminal Village
- Nataraj Dance Stage
- Sacred Fire stage (façade with wood from dead trees)
- Welcome Area Being Fields - Adaptation of the former Chill Out Gardens stage
- 3 Bamboo Hubs at The Gardens (built in 2016)
- Info Stand
- Stretch Tents
- Dance Temple 2016 structure and decor is now used at staff showers,Torii Gates and Sacred Fire stage.
- Central core of the Alchemy Circle 2016 and 2018 is now the structure of The Beacon art installation at the Dance Temple.
- And many more small projects to mention…
- Waste Management: "You don't see rubbish on the floor at Boom", is something that is often heard. It is due to your awareness - THANK YOU.It is due to your awareness - THANK YOU - and also our amazing teams that help clean and recycle everything.
- Energy is a hot topic when we are talking about sustainability. Unfortunately, in Portugal there are no alternatives to diesel generators for festivals. They exist in Northern European countries, but their transport all the way to Boomland would mean high carbon footprint and increasing costs. Consciously then, we are not opting for importing those. Yet the generators at Boom 2022 are the state-of-the-art of efficient technology.
- Solar energy: we use solar pumps for the irrigation of the Boomland gardens. We’re currently redesigning the solar array system.
MOBILITY: WE LOVE BIKES AND THE BOOM BUS
- 21% of people coming to Boom used the Boom Bus (from Lisboa and Madrid) thus reducing use of private vehicles.
- Boom by Bike Initiative: Construction of the Bike Village using upcycling materials from previous editions.
- Over 700 bikes repaired/recycled from production to festival dates. More than 2000 bikes on Boomland grounds.
PACKAGING: 100% COMPOSTING TABLEWARE
- There was no plastic at food vendors and bars. It is mandatory for all food vendors to use biodegradable tableware and soaps.
- Each food vendor may choose their preferred tableware, as long as it is 100% compostable. Some examples of materials used are bamboo, maize starch, potato starch, recycled paper, sugar cane, among others. All tableware was then separated at the composting facility.
- The reason we don't opt for reusable cups has to do with the need for washing: public health regulations for events in Portugal require that reusable utensils must be washed at all times - high water usage. This would be a contradiction for a country with systemic drought. We will continue to research solutions in packaging.
BAZAAR (FORMER FLEA MARKET) & BOOM MERCH
- Selection of stalls was made on sustainability guidelines. These are the same ones that guide our online social project Boom Festival Bazaar.
- Shops were assessed on nine responsibility principles inspired in the Boom Festival Bazaar, Boom’s online marketplace.
- 39 stalls at Boom Bazaar displayed a poster listing their responsibility principles, such as materials used, packaging information, where products were made and the representative contact.
- Stalls at the Bazaar were not allowed to sell items wrapped in plastic bags to Boomers.
- Boom Corner (Boom official stall): all Boom merch is a result of collaborations with craftspeople, artists and indie brands.
- Parts of the Dance Temple 2018 canopy were used in the manufacturing of swimwear available at the Boom Corner.
FOR A CONSCIOUS CAMPING EXPERIENCE
- Tipi Camp: 100% of tipis and star tents are reused. 95.7% of all bed linen is reused; only 4.3% of mattresses and bed linen represent new purchases.
- Cardboard Village: they are made of 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard paper. 100% of sleeping bags will be reused at other festivals. As for mattresses, 95% will be reused at other festivals. Here are some more Kar tents eco facts.
SUPPORTING LOCAL ECONOMY
- Sustainability and regeneration involves long-lasting support for the communities around. A total of 764 suppliers provide materials and equipment to make Boom happen: we are happy that 87% of those are from Portugal.
BOOM KARUNA PROJECT
- Every edition, through the Boom Karuna Project, we share part of the festival profits to social organisations. Via the 2022 edition, Boom is supporting CERAS (a wildlife recovery centre) and Fundação Álvaro Carvalho.
- Besides Karuna, we defined three organisations that you could help with the reimbursements of the cashless system. Therefore, Kosmicare Association, Boomland and CERAS got a total of €7,256.50 from you. Thanks for your support!
Thank you for your time in reading some of the Boom environmental and social initiatives. May we all keep regenerating the Earth together. While we're sending you our love from Boomland, we invite you to learn more