Event Technology & Production Materials

Content

1. Overview and problem statement

Did you know…?

Fifty-five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions occur in the energy sector, and the remaining 45% through the manner in which we manufacture and use products today? 53 In addition to switching to renewable energy, we thus need a circular economy using materially healthy and reusable products, in order to achieve the Paris climate goals.54

For festivals and large concerts, an immense quantity of material is used and installed. This isn’t merely cable binders and duct tape, but also stage material, railings, sound- and lighting systems etc. Only a small portion of these materials are today recyclable using Cradle to Cradle principles. The majority of products cannot be completely recycled and often contain substances that are harmful to the environment as well as humans.55

For infrastructural components like tents, stages and crowd barriers, it is difficult for event organizers to directly influence the materials used. However, a circular business model like renting or leasing can ensure such components are reused as long as possible.

Another consideration is the disposal of materials onsite. There are partially sustainable alternatives for products like cable binders and tape. However, the necessary collection- and separation systems have not been widely established.

Whenever possible, consider using production materials that contain no toxic substances and are capable of recycling as well as being rented and used for many years. If alternative materials are used, service providers should be informed about their use and disposal. In general, the organizer can influence the quality of the materials in cooperation with the manufacturer; however, this is the exception in the event industry as of now.

2. Our Benchmark for Tempelhof Lab

At Tempelhof Lab, we tried to use as many C2C products as possible and initiate new projects:

  • We focused on what we can influence locally. As the concerts were part of a larger tour, we had limited influence on materials used by the bands and their crews. Certain production materials like staging, PA and lighting systems were already booked, as was the decision on how to transport them to Tempelhof Lab.
  • For the materials we could influence, we attempted to use C2C quality. Alternatively, sustainable products should be used whenever possible.
  • Through the project and the discussions with manufacturers, we aim to draw attention to recyclable materials and the C2C concept.
  • Focus on renting equipment, recyclable and sustainable products when possible. Purchasing new products should be the alternative only where necessary.
  • Extensive separation and waste disposal system for one-time use materials and ensure subsequent recycling.

3. What worked well, what can be improved?

For Tempelhof Lab, we took various measures to use materially healthy and recyclable products.

Stage

What worked well?

  • Pilot project: Prototype of a modular C2C-stage, which after a long period of use can be dismantled into individual parts and recycled separately. For that purpose, a C2C-certified fire galvanized steel and a C2C- certified paneling (wood and recycled plastic) were used.
  • Information about the material used for the stage- prototype was stored in a digital material passport. It gives an overview of the quality and quantity of all used materials, where and how they would be installed and in which manner the materials can be reused for a new product. 56

What can be improved?

  • The goal was to construct one of two raised platforms for people with disabilities from C2C materials as a field test. There was insufficient time for the safety- and acceptance processes to implement this.

Loud speaker system, lighting and lamps:

What worked well?

  • For an educational project, we displayed a PA system in the “Cradle Village” that goes back to the manufacturer after use, to be refurbished and returned to the market –an example of how circular business models can support a circular economy.
  • Use of 100% LED technology and no pyrotechnics, confetti or CO₂ streamers at Die Ärzte concerts.

What can be improved?

  • Use of tried and tested, certified and reused PA- systems and loud speakers not only as an educational project, but even on the main stage. For Tempelhof Lab, this was not possible because the bands already had contracts in place for tour equipment.

Other production materials:

What worked well?

  • Recyclable textiles for use on stages (B1 approved) as exhibition pieces in the “Cradle Village.” This molton would be scalable for a large event without any problem.
  • Informational materials like banners and posters were displayed, if possible, from C2C materials. Alternative sustainable materials like PVC-free banners were used. We rented many of these items or produced them ourselves, instead of buying them.
  • C2C chair made of recycled wood and C2C-certified seat covers for the use backstage.

What can be improved?

  • Reusable cable binders: For practical reasons, these could not be used due to the size of the event.
  • In general, to ensure the use of materially healthy products, plan well in advance and discuss with manufacturers.

4. Findings and Recommendations

  • Use market power
    • The bigger an event, a venue or an artist is, the greater influence over the quality of the production materials requested from material or service providers. Using your market power to discuss materials and set/request a certain quality standard can be a great lever to change industries.
    • Set priorities: Which material is used in high volumes and/or is particularly harmful to the environment? Place particular emphasis on recyclability for those materials.
  • Plan time
    • To construct a large stage from 100% C2C materials requires cooperation with the service provider and must be planned many years in advance. The required materials of C2C quality are currently available on the market.
    • Even for smaller products, the search for alternative, toxin-free materials is very time-consuming and should be considered in project planning.
  • Field-tested circular business models already exist and can be further developed.
    • Die Miete von verschiedenen Produkten ist ein Schritt hin zu mehr Kreislauffähigkeit und einer langen Verwendung des eingesetzten Materials. Das ist bei mittleren und größeren Produktionsmaterialien mittlerweile auch Standard. Über Kauf sollte hier gar nicht mehr nachgedacht werden.
    • In discussion with service providers or manufacturers, joint projects for circular business models for as-yet unavailable products can be implemented, such as the case of adhesive tapes.
  • In our case, the concerts were part of tours for which numerous contracts had already been signed. This gave us limited room to maneuver, especially for production materials organized on the tour side.

6. Further inspiration from the industry

The DGTL festival (capacity: 20,000) aligns its circular actions according to the 7 R- Principle: Rethink, Reject, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Compost. Applying this principle, the festival achieved 0 grams of waste per person per day for the first time in 2022. Core elements are: deposit mugs made of hard plastic and a large-scale communication campaign to raise public awareness about waste reduction. Materials are collected in mesh bins instead of trash cans for visibility. In addition, the festival earns money from the residual waste generated, by reselling cans and clean mono-flow PET to processors that make new products from it. Through modular stage construction and the efforts of the local production crew, construction waste has been reduced by 86%, and any materials used are publicly displayed in the form of a flow analysis. 57

H.I.T. fertilizer

Humus fertilizer from the contents of dry toilets.

NPK-Dünger

Liquid fertilizer containing the nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K).

900 tons of CO₂ emissions

This is equivalent to either 900 flights from Frankfurt to New York or 297,000 kilometers of driving in a petrol car.

CO2-Streamer

Device in which CO₂ is ejected into the air, creating a white mist.

C2C quality

C2C textiles are fully recyclable and material healthy. The fabric itself is recyclable and the fibers washed out during the laundering process are harmless to the environment. In addition to the fabric, dyes, ink and process chemicals used in production are also optimized for material health. Social standards are met during production and renewable energy is used.

Textiles in Cradle to Cradle quality

C2C textiles are fully recyclable and material healthy. The fabric itself is recyclable and the fibers washed out during the laundering process are harmless to the environment. In addition to the fabric, dyes, ink and process chemicals used in production are also optimized for material health. Social standards are met during production and renewable energy is used.

Textile materials

A large proportion of all clothing manufactured and sold today is made of synthetic fibers. Polyester alone has a market share of around 50%. Textiles made from natural fibers, i.e. fibers from renewable raw materials, are usually dyed or printed with environmentally harmful dyes. In addition, chemical substances are used in the production process, for example to fix the dyes. These chemicals do not only endanger the environment but also the health of the people who work in the production process and who wear the garments. Thus, whether a garment is truly sustainable depends not only on the fabric, but also on all the other materials used. Because with every laundry cycle, the garment automatically loses thousands of microfibers, which then end up in the waterways. And that’s exactly what these fibers have to be designed for. In other words, regardless of whether the fabric is made synthetically or from natural fibers, only materials that are appropriate for us humans to come into contact with during production and wear and that are biodegradable when they end up in the environment as washed-out fibers should be used in textile production. C2C textiles are designed according to this principle.

recover phosphorus

Starting in 2029, wastewater treatment plants in Germany – depending on the size of the community served – will be required to recover phosphorus from wastewater, sewage sludge, or sewage sludge ash.

C2C certification

Certification according to the Cradle to Cradle criteria is carried out by the Products Innovation Institute (PII), which is based in San Francisco and Amsterdam. The organization certifies products based on five criteria, in each of which four different levels can be achieved. The PII and Cradle to Cradle NGO are independent organizations.

Osmosis filter

In the osmosis filter system, gray water is first purified on a biological basis, then pressed through a bio-membrane filter, which almost completely eliminates solids, viruses and bacteria from the water. The final step is ultrafiltration, which ensures almost 100% sterility.

>> Further information on the osmosis filter

Black water and gray water

Black water and gray water are different categories of wastewater. Black water is water contaminated with fecal matter. Gray water is water that is slightly polluted and free of fecal matter, such as rainwater or wastewater from hand-washing sinks.

Euro standard

As the European exhaust emission standard, the Euro standard sets limits for the emission of air pollutants. They are defined in Europe by the EU. Compliance is measured and checked in the laboratory when new vehicles are type-approved and, in the case of trucks and buses, also in real-world operation. Euro 6d has been the strictest standard for passenger cars since January 2021, and Euro VI for trucks (over 3.5 tons). While the emissions standard sets limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate mass and number, it says nothing about a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. These are defined for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in a separate EU regulation.

Easy langage

Leichte Sprache (easy language) is a simpler and less complex form of everyday German. It is aimed at people who find it difficult to read or understand a text in everyday language. In texts in easy language, for example, there are no foreign words or abbreviations. The set of rules is published by the Netzwerk Leichte Sprache. It is comparable to Easy Read in English.

Plasticizers

Plasticizers are added to plastics, coatings, adhesives and textiles to make brittle materials soft and supple. Many of the substances used as plasticizers are considered to be harmful to the environment and human health. In addition to plasticizers, packaging can also contain other harmful substances that may be used up to certain permitted limits but still reduce the recyclability of the material.

PVC

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a plastic polymer and is produced as rigid PVC (drain pipes, window profiles, etc.) as well as soft PVC. Soft PVC is used for floor coverings, films, children’s toys, hoses, cable sheathing, seals, etc. and consists of up to 40% plasticizers, some of which are harmful, especially as they are released to humans and the environment during production and use of the products. Due to the many additives, PVC is hardly recyclable and is usually incinerated (thermal recycling), which produces toxic dioxins.

Canceln

Canceling (cancel culture) refers to the exclusion of individuals or organizations that are accused of offensive, discriminatory or racist statements or actions, among other things. The term is also used by people who are accused of this behavior. The term and the actions behind it are the subject of much public debate, see here and here.

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a British naturalist, writer and wildlife filmmaker best known for his award-winning nature documentaries.

Social ticketing

Offering different price categories for an event, adapted to the respective financial circumstances.

FLINTA*

FLINTA* stands for Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Trans and Agender. It stands for anyone who is not a cis man. Cis or cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The asterisk includes all non-binary gender identities as a placeholder.

Which way to Panama?

The concept with the code question “Which way to Panama” was introduced in 2017 by the concert organizer FKP Scorpio. The aim is to be able to offer visitors simple and uncomplicated help in any emergency situation by naming this code sentence.

Initiative Barrierefrei Feiern
(IBF)

Nationwide collective (in German) of people with disabilities and their allies advocating for accessible cultural opportunities

Awareness

Awareness means being aware of problems and conflicts. Awareness concepts create safe spaces in which all people can feel comfortable because no assault or discriminatory behavior is tolerated. The definition of what is assaultive or discriminatory for a person or a group is not questioned.

Inclusion

Social inclusion means the accentuation, inclusion and equal participation of all people in a society.

Waste separation

Proper waste separation is not that simple. Even in Germany, where there is a comparatively extensive separation system. For example, a pizza box is made of cardboard, and therefore paper. But soiled by grease and pizza remnants, it still doesn’t belong in the waste paper bin, but in the residual waste bin.

At the Tempelhof laboratory, we have set up two residual waste garbage cans at each of the nutrient islands, a bio garbage can for leftovers/food waste and another bio garbage can for the biodegradable tabelware. In addition, a garbage bag was hung up for the collection of PET bottles, which the public was allowed to bring onto the grounds.
The background of this composition, which is quite different from the system known from everyday life in Germany: The disposable tableware was to be composted in a separate field trial, because industrial composting facilities are set in specific temperatures and composting cycles to ensure that food and food residues can be composted without residue. However, these cycles do usually not composte biodegradable tableware items. This does not mean that this tableware is not compostable – the ZirkulierBar research project has already demonstrated this by adding shredded biodegradable disposable tableware to the humus composting process. But composting takes place at a different temperature and for a different composting time than, for example, vegetable peelings, for which the cycles of industrial composting plants are designed.

Planetary Boundaries

Planetary boundaries define the safe operating framework for humanity. If these ecological limits are overstepped, our natural ecosystems collapse and the existence of humankind is endangered. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has defined nine such boundaries, six of which have been considered exceeded since 2022.

resource-positive

This means that the cultivation of a plant has an overall positive impact. A plant from regenerative agriculture has been grown in such a way that the cultivation increases the nutrient content in the soil, the biodiversity in the cultivation area or the quality of the water in the region. The cultivation of the plant therefore has a positive impact on all the resources that are needed in the cultivation process.

Real costs

Real costs can be shown when the so-called external effects arising from the production or consumption of a product are included in the price. These are usually negative externalities, for example environmental damages or health damages caused by the production or consumption of a certain product. Usually, these costs are not covered by the pollutur, but by society. As a result, there are differences between private returns of economic activities and the returns or costs to society as a whole. In this specific example of food at events, the real costs of a dish can be calculated by measuring the resource consumption and CO₂ footprint incurred in the production of a certain dish, quantifying it and adding it to the price. Calculating real prices would make many products that are harmful to health and the environment significantly more expensive than before, and generally more expensive than sustainable or C2C products.

Cradle Village

The Cradle Village was an area equipped with pavilions between the entrance and the stage. It was part of the educational concept around circularity and C2C onsite. Various NGOs were represented there as well as some C2C cases exhibited as educational projects.

Regenerative agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is an agricultural approach that focuses on soil and plant health. The goal is to build healthy, fertile soil through agricultural cultivation, thereby increasing yields while creating positive impacts on carbon and water cycles as well as biodiversity. The approach contrasts with conventional agriculture, in which the use of pesticides, heavy agricultural machinery and monocultures, among other things, reduces biodiversity and causes lasting damage to soils. Regenerative agriculture can complement organic agriculture, which avoids the use of hazardous substances but is often associated with lower yields than conventional agriculture.

Biofuels

Biofuels are fuels obtained from biomass. The environmental friendliness of these also depends on whether their raw materials are in competition with the food production industry (for example, corn) or whether the fuels are obtained from residual materials.

Smart grids

In smart grids, power load management improves the utilization of the existing infrastructure and thus makes more efficient use of energy.

Peak Shaving

Peak shaving can be used to stabilize the power generated by energy networks. Periods in which a particularly large amount of power is available (power peaks) are capped.

Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen fuel uses renewable energy instead of conventional energy for the electrolysis to produce hydrogen. Its production makes sense in regions where sufficient renewable energy sources in the form of sun or wind are available to power water electrolysis.

Battery Regulation

Among other things, this regulation is intended to make a battery pass mandatory in order to provide incentives for recyclable battery design and the recycling of battery components.

Authentic green electricity

Authentic green electricity means that the supplier invests part of the revenue from the sale of green electricity in the development of new plants for the generation of electricity from renewable sources. In this way, the provider helps to ensure that the electricity mix improves in the long term and the share of renewable energy grows steadily. Im Germany, such providers can be identified by labels such as “ok-power” or “Grüner Strom“.

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is an approach to a circular economy that goes a little further. Instead of producing less waste, using fewer resources, causing less environmental damage, or merely aiming for climate neutrality, products and processes are to be designed in such a way that added value is created as a result. In other words, a positive impact on the climate through a new way of handling resources. Because if we only cause less damage through our actions, we only delay the problems we cause, but do not solve them.

We can only solve climate and resource problems permanently by setting positive goals. By consistently integrating our actions into biological cycles and creating technical cycles, we achieve real added value: ecologically, economically and socially. C2C products consist of materials that are healthy for people and the environment and can circulate in biological and technical cycles. If a material in a product is automatically consumed (for example, the abrasion from a tire while driving or fibers from a T-shirt that are washed out in the washing machine), then this material must also be suitable for ending up in the environment. It must therefore be completely biodegradable.

All other products must be designed in such a way that all their components and materials can be separated and reused again and again. Either directly, after remanufacturing or repairing, or through a recycling, which preserves the quality of the material. In the production of such C2C products, we use only renewable energy, preserve or improve the quality of water and soil, and have fair and humane working conditions.
Business models such as product service models, beneficial use or leasing help to keep materials and products in the cycle.

>> more information

Circular economy

Derived from the EU Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, the term “circular economy” encompasses “all stages of value creation – from product design and production to consumption, repair, waste management and secondary raw materials fed back into the economy.”
The transformation of our current linear economy, (resources are taken from the earth, used and then mostly become worthless waste) to a circular economy is an overarching policy goal in the EU and in all member states – including Germany. The German government is currently (as of June 2023) developing the so-called National Circular Economy Strategy, which aims to reduce the need for newly extracted raw materials. A circular economy and resource conservation are thus intended to contribute to climate neutrality and decarbonization.

In the case of the Tempelhof Lab, we attempted to design as many aspects of the concerts as possible in such a way that resources are kept in circulation or incentives are provided for this. Ideally, this meant using a C2C product or C2C process with a positive impact on people and the environment. Where this was not possible, an alternative was sought that was sustainable in the classic sense, i.e. at least caused less harm than a conventional solution.

CO2 compensation

Organizations that offer compensation for CO2 emissions can be certified according to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) standard. Gold Standard is a standard developed by an alliance of non-governmental organizations such as WWF, which is considered the most demanding standard for voluntary emissions trading.

These contacts are merely a selection, without any claim to completeness. The selection is based on the companies with which the Tempelhof Lab project worked or had contact.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Hydrotreated or hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVO) are oils that have been chemically converted into hydrocarbons and can thus be used as fuel. They are used as an addition to or substitute for diesel fuel and emit up to 90% less CO2 compared to diesel. Oil plants, residues from the agricultural industry, but also used cooking oils can be used as raw materials for HVO. If residual or waste materials are used, production does not compete with food production and causes lower CO2 emissions in production. If HVO is produced from palm oil, the greenhouse gas balance deteriorates considerably because rainforests are cleared for the cultivation of oil palms. Therefore, a supplier should be chosen that guarantees the exclusion of primary palm oil as a raw material.

atmosfair

Offsetting CO2 emissions is not a sufficient strategy for achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and certainly not for taking climate-positive action. The provider atmosfair points out exactly this on its website and thus encourages active action. The climate protection projects supported by atmosfair are for the most part twice certified: Under the standard of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and under Gold Standard (standard developed by an alliance of NGOs such as the WWF, which is considered the most demanding standard for voluntary emissions trading). atmosfair is transparent in its use of funds and, according to its own statements, only supports projects that take into account other important aspects of environmental protection in addition to the CO2 aspect.

Tempelhof Lab

The Tempelhof Lab concerts took place under very specific conditions: Tempelhof Airport as an open air location in the middle of Berlin, 60,000 visitors per concert and full support of the bands involved. Solutions that were feasible and sensible in this scenario may not be sensible or possible under other framework conditions. Conversely, some great C2C ideas were not scalable for this size of an event, but work perfectly fine under other framework conditions. Therefore, the goals described in this Guidebook and the measures derived from them are not a universally applicable checklist, but rather highlight opportunities and the right questions to ask for the most climate- and resource-positive event possible.