Ecology | Luminate Festival 2019

Luminate’s environmental consciousness is fundamental to the ethos of the festival

All participants at Luminate are invited to engage with a range of strategies that help to manifest the reality of living in resonance with nature. Luminate demonstrates how our own personal choices can make a huge difference, and each individual has a significant role to play in helping to create a clean environment and a thriving ecology.


A Radical Waste Minimisation Strategy

No rubbish or recycling bins, no disposable single-use items, only re-usable plates & cups,
no litter being generated.


Facilitating regeneration of native forest and biodiversity on event site. Solar showers, some
solar power, rocket stove water heating.


All aspects of the festival are organised and run in-house by 500 crew and volunteers in alignment with Luminate’s purpose, vision & culture.

Collective Land Guardianship

Luminate Trust & Collective members invest in and co-own the land for long-term community benefit and sustainability of events.

Conscious Cafes

Luminate runs 5 cafes with organic, nutrient dense, vegetarian, superfood & ketogenic menus from local and ethical trade suppliers.


Luminate’s design of thermophilic, aerobic compost toilets, plus composting food leftovers,
generates nutrients to complete the food cycle.

Living Water

Use of greywater filtration systems and earth-friendly washing products, mountain spring water source.

Local Community Initiatives

Supporting local food growers & small businesses, providing a range of opportunities for local community.

Respect for Resources

Infrastructure, décor, furnishings & amenities created by re-purposing second-hand resources and from natural materials sourced locally.


All festival participants are required to pack out all that they bring & leave no trace.

Luminate nominated as one of the top five finalists for “Outstanding Green Event” in the 2018 FestX Awards!!!

Hundreds of global events were considered by the XLive & Everfest panel. The FestX Awards honor innovation, creativity and overall effectiveness in achieving incredible accomplishments within the festival scene worldwide.

It’s really wonderful that the innovative ecological strategies that are fundamental to Luminate have received this global attention and recognition.

Luminate has created this 2min eco-video that will screen during the awards ceremony >>>


Luminate invites all participants (all people who attend the festival including ticket buyers, supporters, volunteers, music artists, workshop presenters, healers, market traders, crew and suppliers) to engage with strategies that result in effective waste minimization. A core principle is the educational aspect whereby all participants are required to take self-responsibility for any rubbish or recycling that they may generate.

As the festival itself produces very little waste, participants really get to see how their own personal choices can make a huge difference in reducing the potential for waste to be generated in the first place. The crucial factor is that each individual has a significant role to play in helping to create a clean environment and a thriving ecology
  • No rubbish bins
  • BYO containers
  • Composting
  • Reusing resources


  • There are no rubbish or recycling bins at Luminate.
  • All festival Participants are required to take responsibility for any rubbish or recycling that they generate, to pack out what they bring and to leave no trace – this extends to everyone on site.
  • Packaging can be reduced at source with conscious product buying before the festival.
  • Avoid bringing unnecessary packaging or disposables.
  • Luminate has a range of cafes and food vendors engaged to provide a wide range of organic nutrient dense food and drinks at very reasonable prices. Using these cafes reduces the need to bring lots of packaged food and greatly minimises the creation of rubbish.
  • Directions to local recycling and refuse centers are listed in the Festival Guide booklet provided at Luminate and published on the website.
  • All recyclable materials need to be washed and sorted to be accepted at the recycle centers
  • Rubbish needs to be taken to a refuse centre in a TDC (local council) approved rubbish bag which can be bought at local supermarkets and visitor centers.
  • To maintain a clean environment at the event, carry a container for cigarette butts, avoid using glitter or other products that can end up as litter, and if you see any micro rubbish pick it up and take it with you.
  • Market Traders are not permitted to sell any single-use products or items in packaging.
  • Luminate is a non-alcohol event which helps to minimize the creation of rubbish & recycling.


  • Market traders and Luminate’s cafes only provide food and drinks in ceramic/re-useable plates and cups, are not permitted to use single use disposables, and do not sell drinks or water in cans or plastic/glass bottles.
  • Participants either need to bring their own plates, cups & cutlery for the cafes, and a dishwashing area is provided for convenience, or
  • Participants can hire ceramic plates & cups and cutlery from Luminate’s Eco-dishwash & sterilisation facility.
  • Bring your own water bottle/container to refill from water supply points at the event site.



  • All toilets are compost toilets which have a net positive result instead of creating a waste product.
  • Organic matter (grass mowed from the event site) is added to the humanure to form a thermophilic compost system.
  • Organic matter (grass mowed from the event site) is added to the humanure to form a thermophilic compost system.
  • The toilets and thermophilic composing solution complete the loop, creating much needed nutrients for the land.
  • All food scraps from the market and cafes are composted, and Participants are invited to put personal food scraps in the compost enclosure.
  • The compost resources can be used to grow food and trees on the land.


  • Infrastructure, art and décor are created using re-cycled materials and by re-using, re-purposing and up-cycling resources.
  • Natural materials are used for building and décor where possible, including recycled and sustainably milled timber, local bamboo & flax etc
  • Décor, furniture, equipment, materials and appliances are bought second hand, repaired if needed, up-cycled and reused as often as possible.
  • Single-use items are avoided and creative solutions adopted.
  • Luminate chooses to avoid buying anything new wherever possible, and prefers to re-purpose existing resources, to help preserve the ecology and minimize resources ending up in landfill.


The Luminate Clean Environment Strategy covers all areas of the festival, from crew, suppliers and participants and is considered in every decision made at every level.


  • changes in consumer patterns, more awareness about packaging, re-using resources, avoiding generating waste at source
  • increased consciousness around rubbish and waste minimisation
  • generation of rich compost for use in forest restoration projects on the land
  • completing the nutrient cycle, avoiding “waste”, creating a resource
  • no rubbish hits the ground, festival site stays clean and tidy throughout the event
  • significant amount of potential waste going to landfill is avoided
  • providing best practices in conscious event management
  • increased consciousness around rubbish and waste minimisation
  • generation of rich compost for use in forest restoration projects on the land


  • clear communication of common values and ethos
  • education of all participants and contributors
  • individual responsibility and self reliance
  • reduce generation of waste at all sources
  • strategies permeate all strands of the festival
  • walking the talk
  • “net positive” impacts not just “sustainable” impacts
  • creates a legacy of empowerment and inspiration


  • Luminate has created specially designed hand-built composting “Lumi-loos”.
  • These toilets avoid the many problems that chemical portaloos create.
  • The thermophilic humanure compost system creates optimum pathogen breakdown.
  • Inbuilt pee-separators result in no black-water being produced.
  • Men’s urinals also help with collecting the urine separately.
  • Toilets are built entirely from recycled and natural materials.
  • Sawdust is used to cover the solids in the toilets, and is sourced from local timber mills, turning a waste byproduct into a resource.
  • Toilet paper is made from unbleached recycled paper.
  • Transportation costs and carbon footprints are reduced, as the toilets and compost remain on site.
  • Shift Happens – We recommend reading The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins for detailed information on composting toilets, especially if you need to take a shift 😉


Luminate seeks to maximise energy efficiency from natural sources, and to utilise highly functional, low-tech solutions where possible.
  • Solar hot water heating for the showers, using a creative design of coiled water pipe which generates a constant supply of hot water while the sun is out.
  • Rocket-stove (very efficient wood burning) water heaters for cafes & dishwashing facilities and some showers.
  • Natural gas hobs used for cooking rather than electricity.
  • Solar power is used where possible, currently on a small scale.
  • Solar powered lighting used for composting toilets.
  • LED low energy lighting used in all music zones.
  • Rechargeable batteries for torches and equipment used by the Crew.
  • Firewood is sourced from waste industrial timber and slash from forestry.
  • Wood-fired earth oven for Pizza Café.
  • Wood-fired heating is used throughout the festival.


The water on site at Canaan Downs comes from a natural spring source in the mountains, well above any farming or other human interference. This is living water, and arguably some of the purest water in New Zealand.

Drinking Water

  • The spring water on site is tested by the Cawthron Institute, Nelson
  • Water is also supplied in a water tanker from a local potable source.
  • Participants are requested to conserve water at all times.
  • No plastic bottles of water are sold on site.
  • Participant guidelines include “bring your own water container”.


  • Innovative and effective water management systems are used to naturally filter greywater from the food outlets and showers in a safe and hygienic manner.
  • All food outlets are Vegetarian or Vegan, so that the cafes are not creating black-water (which occurs with meat products), and the greywater is carefully drained with grease traps and filtered.
  • Urine separation in the compost toilets also avoids significant amounts of black-water as contamination with the solids is avoided.
  • Guidelines for all Participants include using only biodegradable shower & dishwashing products, and to avoid using soap and other products in any nearby rivers.
  • Luminate supplies biodegradable, eco-friendly products for use in the showers, toilets/handwashing and dishwashing.


Conscious Food is a key part of the Luminate lifestyle. From the five Luminate run ‘Lumi Cafes’ to the Market Spirals’  food stalls, measures are in place to ensure you get the best organic superfood laden nutrient dense fuel to keep you full power for the late nights and sunny days!

The Lumi Cafes

Luminate chooses to run 5 of the main cafes on site and is making networks in the community to provide food for the festival on a large scale

  • Luminate menus are nutrient dense, packed with superfoods and selected for their diversity
  • a focus is put on conscious eating education
  • organic produce is locally and New Zealand sourced
  • preferred suppliers are small sustainable (ideally local) producers
  • all eggs are organic, free range and locally sourced
  • milk is organic and locally sourced
  • local cheese is used as priority
  • bulk foods are organic and locally focussed
  • no trans fats, additives or preservatives
  • all cooking oil is organic coconut oil

Food Stalls in the Market

  • market vendors are encouraged with discounts on fees to be 75% organic
  • food vendor guidelines state no GMO’s, additives, preservatives, trans fats
  • raw, vegan and gluten free options are available throughout the festival


Our environmental ethos even extends into our marketing and promotions. Well researched stationary sourcing and values aligned merchandise is just the tip of the iceberg.

Marketing resources

  • t-shirts are bought second hand and screenprinted with the festival logo
  • participants can bring their own clothes to be screenprinted at the festival
  • printing of booklet, posters & fliers is eco paper with veggie (non-gmo soy) inks
  • printing of promo material is kept to a minimum and online promotion is favoured
  • envelopes & packaging are re-used
  • ink cartridges for office printers are refilled
  • eco-paper is used in the office
  • all redundant paper is recycled or composted
  • stationary materials are re used, reclaimed or rejuvenated


Luminate’s transport initiatives stretch from pre festival delivery scheduling and lift sharing to vehicle restrictions on site and a reclaimed bicycle pool for crew! Luminate believes in putting emphasis on localising carbon offsetting; introducing a land management scheme reclaiming the land from grazing and planting native trees.
  • participants are encouraged to car pool
  • crew collaborate to combine transport trips to end from local towns.
  • all deliveries to site are combined by pooling transport
  • any single runs are done on smaller vehicles
  • crew carpool to and from site
  • large containers remain on site to reduce volume of transport for set up/pack down
  • vehicles are not permitted in the festival site
  • a large second hand bicycle pool provides crew and volunteers on site transport
  • land management on site to regenerate naive forest
  • relationships built with local farmers to shift grazing patterns
Scroll to Top