Can a ‘party’ make recycling more sexy? Doing good the Heineken way

How can Heineken stimulate positive consumer behaviour and circularity? The past half year Heineken Nederland and Fronteer have invested time to better understand circularity and waste management on festivals. One of the outcomes of this project is a circular bar produced with 727 kg of consumer waste. Plastic drinking cups, that were collected and recycled into a next life purpose. With the first circular bar released on Decibel Outdoor Festival on the 18th of August we look back at a great journey.

Material Destruction

In the Netherlands, an average festival visitor generates up to 2,3 kg of waste a day. This is about twice as much as an ‘average’ person generates in their normal daily activities. This almost always ends up into the incinerator. Preventing these resources from being burnt and giving it a next purpose can be seen as low hanging fruit for making festivals more sustainable. By working on consumer awareness and better waste management on festivals this material destruction can be stopped. The past half year we supported Heineken to go to large festivals and ‘Recycle the Party’.


TBWA, one of the partner ad agencies of Heineken, created the concept “Recycle the Party” for brand activation purposes. The goal: positively influence consumer behaviour and create more awareness and shared responsibility for recycling among festival visitors – in a fun way.  A simple idea; we party, we recycle. But where and how to start?
In co-creation with TBWA and Heineken we enriched the concept and translated it into an operational strategy to create maximum positive impact for festivals and its visitors.

We realised from the start that we had to keep it simple, convenient and fun for festival visitors. You are there for a party, not a lecture. At the same time, we want to party guilt free, so finding the right balance is key. We introduced Heineken to important key stakeholders in the waste and reprocessing sector.

Clean festivals and circular bars

We ended up with multiple festivals being more clean, and used the collected waste for a new practical purpose. A purpose that is quite an essential ingredient for each great party; a (circular) bar. We are convinced that this is a great start for more circular festival designs and increasing circular positive impact.

Inspire new changemakers

Within large organisation it is key to find a balance between idealism and pragmatism. There are deadlines to be met, and promises to be fulfilled. In these high demanding environments it is people that determine the right course of action. It is people that safeguard the realisation of the most sustainable process and product possible. We are happy that – through co-creation – we could contribute to the sustainability strategy of Heineken.  It is rewarding to see how the marketing team of Heineken embedded this within their DNA. It is not only the story we tell, it is the impact we make. This inspires new change makers, internally and externally, to step up and work towards creating new horizons.

What’s your next horizon? Get in touch and join the movement.

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Martijn Pater