Digital Freedom Festival Aims for #ZeroWaste

Digital Freedom Festival is a meeting place to celebrate digital culture and seek the answers to our future, discuss the benefits of the digital revolution. It will take place in Riga, Latvia, November 14-15. This year’s main topic is IMPACT & SUSTAINABILITY because we believe that we can make an impact on a better future if we start to act now.

Each of us has organized some sort of event at least once in our lives. Whether it was a low-key family celebration or a huge international tech conference, in the end, it can make a bit of a mess and create a lot of waste.

When we think about large-scale corporate events, the amount of printed and produced materials (disposable plates and glasses, badges, wristbands, souvenirs, and other custom one-occasion-only trinkets) is enormous. It’s not only extremely unsustainable from an ecological point of view, but it’s also a “waste” of money in the purest, most literal context – most of it will be thrown away and forgotten by attendees or organizers at the end of the big party.  


Going #ZeroWaste is neither art nor hard science. It requires strategic planning, enormous patience, and a strong long-term vision. If we break things down there are three main principles to follow in order to win the zero waste game: reduce, reuse and recycle. 

Undoubtedly going zero waste is toughest for large events – as organizers, we want to be prepared for all probable and improbable outcomes, as well as to have the foresight to predict the future as much as possible. It does seem a bit daunting to take on the “less is more” approach while at the same time thinking about all the things that can go wrong during an event, but still, it’s just as important to integrate this mindset into the very system of the organizational culture. 

Two of the biggest sources of waste at events are food and paper, so whether it’s taking the extra step to be sure of the number of attendees or going digital with all event materials, minimizing excess will definitely pay off for both business and the environment in the long-term. 

We are ready to invest extra time and attention to keeping track of whether the products used during the festival are recyclable or can be reused. This especially pertains to all the small trinkets from pens to keychains that everybody is so used to receiving as gifts at conferences. This year we want to challenge the concept of conferences being overly loaded with branded give-away souvenirs and focus on the added value each item has.


When it comes to organizing a zero waste and eco-friendly event, timing is everything. As we have already figured, the #ZeroWaste event begins at the idea stage and is complete only after the event has taken place and all the loose ends have been wrapped up.

Even the best initiatives can fail when the planning starts too late and is hurried. This is very important, especially taking into account that green and sustainable ideas and practices are still quite new for the industries associated with event planning, as well as for us as the event organizers. The Digital Freedom Festival 2019 planning started already a year ago, after completing the Digital Freedom Festival 2018 and realizing – it was time we make an impact.  

The most challenging part is to realize that our own business isn’t the only one that we are managing. Creating a sustainable event requires a complicated network made up of various partners, suppliers and sponsors and, despite it did take a lot of time to evaluate our potential partners, we are now sure they will help us to achieve our zero waste goal this year. 


Unfortunately being green isn’t always the cheapest option when it comes to things like using sustainable and recyclable materials. Although the up-front costs may be more for holding a zero-waste event, we do think of the extra money spent as an investment instead of considering going green as an expense. The reduction part, however, is likely to end up being a great saving. Reducing is all about avoiding overproduction and overconsumption, instead, we are focusing on the innovations we can implement to level-up both our sustainability game and the user experience. 

We want to encourage you to join our Zero waste two months’ marathon to obtain new green habits and practices by making your “ZERO WASTE” commitment.

1.REDUCE WASTE. Think proactively what is the waste you’re creating daily –  paper, plastic, and glass keeps landfills from growing. You can make a change by changing your everyday habits: bring your own thermo-cup to the office, use your own bottle to refill water and get into recycling both in the office and home.


2.SAVE ENERGY. The simple actions like turning off the light where it is not necessary will make a great difference in the long run. Engage in long-term sustainable thinking by installing the led lighting in your office, save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.


3.GREEN TRANSPORTATION. Bike, walk or take public transport to work. Share the car trips when you’re a bigger group of people.


4.RECYCLING. Examine and change everyday decisions. Can you recycle at your workplace? Is your company buying from merchants engaging in harmful ecological practices?


5.CHARITY. As an individual and the organization, engage in charitable activities. Donate what you don’t use. Local charities will give your gently used clothes, books, and furniture a new life.

Digital Freedom Festival tickets are available here.