But as it turns out, the specialist festival – held on the Haughley Park estate near Stowmarket – has very little need for expert waste management when it comes to wood disposal.
“We generally find a use for whatever we don’t need at the end,” explained festival organiser Sarah Barker. “It can be used for hay bales, wood chips, shavings…
“The wood curls go to an artist that does interesting things with them and all of the little offcuts go to the children’s woodwork shop.
“Our woodworkers make a huge effort to share resources so that whatever’s leftover always goes on to be used for the next thing.
“Wood is our greatest resource. We have a huge debt to the planet and must be responsible with it.”
Despite having little need for wood recycling, the festival now serves more than 9,500 people a year, which does generate a fair amount of waste to fill our skips. But even then, the festival folk still made life easy for SunSkips’ site operatives.
Sarah said, “There’s very little plastic onsite and we had a team of people separating all the rubbish. There were recycling bins everywhere to make sure it was all done properly.
“We’re looking at how we can organise the recycling even better next year. The general public needs it to be easy and simple to understand; it’s on us to make it clear.”
Dedicated to wood crafting, the festival strives to be an affordable event for the family, with free workshops, musical performances and tons of wooden wares for sale.
“It’s fantastic that we have people making furniture from local trees that have fallen in the wind so nothing goes to waste,” said Sarah.
“There was a tree that had come down in a wood near Bury St Edmunds and this guy had made a beautiful garden bench out of it. A local elderly couple bought it and sent us a message saying it was something they’d always wanted and they love sitting on it every day. It’s so nice to hear stories like that!”
Most of the crafts sold at Weird & Wonderful Wood are made in the UK, typically from hand tools to promote sustainability and teach traditional methods to younger generations.
“We need to encourage and adopt these skills to keep our minds creative,” explained Sarah. “I think teaching our children those handcrafts gives them a more agile, flexible way of working.”
It was Sarah’s mother, Tarby Davenport, who started the festival in 1994 as a single mum trying to find something for her daughter to do. This year, nearly 30 years on, Tarby was awarded an MBE for Services to the Arts and the Community for her work putting on events around the country.
“It’s my mum’s ethos to create affordable things for families to do,” added Sarah. “After two years of the event being cancelled due to the pandemic, it was so lovely to see families out enjoying themselves and creating things again.”
SunSkips is proud to be a regular supplier at Weird & Wonderful Wood and applauds the organisers’ efforts to manage recyclable waste onsite. If you need a sustainable waste management solution for your event in East Anglia, get in touch with our team.
Feature image credit: Heritage Snapper