We thought it would be a good idea to dedicate a whole newsletter to something we really value here at the Byron Bay Surf Festival… being committed to reducing our environmental impact. We believe in promoting and initiating sustainable principals in all aspects of our event, and have aligned ourselves with a number of amazing organisations that will assist in achieving these goals. Read all about what we are getting up to below!

First and foremost, we are conscious of our waste. With such a large event over multiple locations we are working really hard to ensure our waste is minimised. We are looking to become a zero-waste event over the next three years- and are attempting to divert the majority of our waste away from landfill and into recycling and compostable programs this year. 

This year we have a total ban on the big 5 single-use plastics at the Surf Art Market. You won’t see any plastic bags, cups, bottles, straws/cutlery or containers available at our food and stall vendors.

‘Plastic Free Byron’, an awesome new community initiative will be assisting us in implementing our waste management over the weekend. Keep an eye out for these guys, they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about the waste program and what they do for the Byron community.


We are also working with R Certification meaning we have opened up all aspects, locations and venues associated with the festival to measure our total energy consumption. We will be offsetting 100% of our energy consumption across all venues over the weekend.

You’ll also notice a number of dedicated BBSF waste stations throughout the festival- they tell you everything you need to know about putting things in the right bin…please be a good sort!

Photo from @plasticfreebyron

I am really excited that the Festival is working towards becoming a 100% waste-free event over the next 3 years, including banning single-use plastics and offsetting power usage. This year, we have banned the big 5 plastics at the Surf Art Markets – bags, bottles, straws, cutlery and cups/containers! We have brought on Plastic Free Byron to help with our waste initiatives, implement Byron Shire Council’s new recycling rules, and make sure we restrict the waste items ending up in landfill. – James McMillan, Festival Founder

Photo from @plasticfreebyron/@cleancoastcollective

We are stoked to announce our collaboration with Sustainable Surf as part of their ‘Deep Blue Event’ program. Deep Blue (Ocean Friendly) Events address issues directly related to the local event area including waste reduction and the building of stronger communities, while also taking action to reduce threats to the global sport of surfing itself such as: sea level rise and ocean acidification.
We will be working with this global not-for-profit throughout the festival to assess and improve our programs. These guys will also have a tipi at the Surf Art Markets with loads of information about ECOBOARDS, which turn waste into rad surf products and use surfing to inspire more sustainable lifestyle choices. AND if you want to see what goes into making a more sustainable surfboard – check out the live glassing demos from 10am-4pm at their tipi with help from their friends at Treehouse Shapes.


Photos from @sustainsurf

The forecast is looking good- so it’s going to be hot people. Don’t forget to bring your re-usable water bottles (or buy one of ours from our merch tents!) and stay hydrated. There’ll be a number of water refill stations at the Surf Art Markets, including Waves for Water’s Project Purpose stall where you can refill your bottles for a gold-coin donation and in-turn support some incredible ‘clean water’ programs in the developing world.

Of course, as surfers, we’re pretty passionate about conserving the playground we love and live in. We are so stoked to introduce another new concept to the festival, the Marine Conservation Hub (MCH), where you can engage and learn about pressing environmental issues from some of the most inspiring conservationist around. Proudly brought to you by Tangaroa Blue’s Australian Marine Debris Initiative, there will be many amazing groups involved including Clean Coast Collective, Take 3, Australian Seabird Rescue and Positive Change for Marine Life.

Don’t forget to join us at Main Beach on Friday morning (10am) for a collaborative beach clean up hosted by Clean Coast Collective, followed by a BBQ lunch at 12pm with all proceeds going to Australian Seabird Rescue.


Images- bottom left @take3forthesea, bottom right; @cleancoastcollective


Sustainable Surf  
These guys are coming from the USA to assess and improve our programs. They will also have a tipi at the Surf Art Markets with loads of information about creating a more sustainable surf industry- including a live sustainable glassing demonstration.

One Wave
 They are running the Fluro Friday surf sess raising awareness for mental health at Main Beach 7am & they have a market stall at Saturday’s Surf Art Market. Founder, Grant Trebilco, is also speaking in the Patagonia Yurt at 9.30am. So get out your fluro and free the funk!


1% For the Planet
They have a Tipi you must visit at the Surf Art Market – look out for the huge Five Ocean’s plastic fin. They will also be presenting in the Patagonia Yurt at 1.30pm. BBSF is proudly a 1% For The Planet member!


Uncle Project
They have a very cool market stall at the Surf Art Market, activities for boys, and a mechanical surfboard for little (and big) kids!


Future Dreamers
They have a market stall at the Surf Art Market & lots of activities for girls.


Sirens for the Sea
These guys are a rad team of scientists helping educate the world on oceanic issues. They are sharing a tipi with eco-friendly wetsuit ‘n’ bikini brand, Abysse.


Project Aware
They are collaborating this year with Clif Bar with a market stall at the Surf Art Markets, plus Clif Bar are giving away hundreds of their yummy bars.


Tangaroa Blue/ Australian Marine Debris Initiative
 These guys have removed 705 tonnes of marine debris from our beaches since 2004 and we are proud for them to present our Marine Conservation Hub at the Surf Art Markets – featuring five marine conservation organisations.

Plastic Free Byron
Plastic Free Byron are officially launching at the BBSF! We are proud to partner with this new organisation to help implement waste strategies plus they have a market stall at the Surf Art Markets in the Marine Conservation Hub. Look out for their launch film at the Byron Theatre events!


Clean Coast Collective
 Get along to their collaborative beach clean up at Main Beach Friday 10am,  and drop by their market stall at the Surf Art Market in the Marine Conservation Hub. They’ll be raising money for their next remote clean up!


Positive Change for Marine Life
PCFML are our local heroes who clean Byron Bay’s Main Beach every fortnight. They’ll be collaborating with Clean Coast Collective for our big beach clean up Friday 10am Main Beach, plus they have a market stall at the Surf Art Market in the Marine Conservation Hub.


Take 3
Their concept is simple – Take 3 pieces of rubbish when you leave a waterway, beach or in the street! They’ll be collaborating on the beach clean up Friday 10am Main Beach, plus they have made this very cool marine debris maze installation at the Surf Art Market, which will also be featured in the Marine Conservation Hub.


Australian Seabird Rescue
Ballina’s ASR has been rescuing marine animals for decades. They’ll be collaborating in the beach clean up Friday 10am Main Beach, plus putting on the BBQ lunch at Main Beach at 12pm Friday with proceeds going towards sea turtle and sea bird rescue and rehabilitation. They also have a market stall at the Surf Art market in the Marine Conservation Hub.


Byron Youth Services and the YAC (Youth Activities Centre) Byron Bay
BYS are the primary provider of youth services to kids in the Byron Shire. We are donating proceeds from our major raffle running around town during the 3 days of the event to the awesome BYS and YAC. So many awesome prizes on offer – stay tuned!


Dolphin Research Australia
Learn all about Byron Bay’s precious whale and dolphin populations at their stall at the Surf Art Market.


Sea Shepherd
Help Sea Shepherd to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans by checking out their stall at the Surf Art Market.


Free the Reef
 How cool is this? Live screen printing of t-shirts (art by well-known Aussie artists) to raise money for the Great Barrier Reef, also at the Surf Art Market.


Shark Watch NSW
Shark Watch NSW is a new organisation, set up to provide research driven, non-lethal shark mitigation strategies to the Northern Rivers community. They have a market stall at the Surf Art Market, and will be implementing their shark spotting/shark mitigation strategies at Wategos on our Sunday Funday Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions Feb 26 (you’ll be able to spot lots of shark spotting).

Project Purpose
A project of Waves for Water, these guys have a market stall at the Surf Art Market, and will be dispensing water by donation, with proceeds providing clean water to third world countries.

Images c’wise from left; @onewaveisallittakes, @onepercentftp, @tangaroablue, @freethereef

We know a lot of you will be travelling considerable distances to be with us over the weekend. We’ll have dedicated cheap parking for our patrons at Butler Street Reserve on Saturday and Sunday AND a BBSF x Mojo Surf shuttle bus on Sunday to help everyone move between town and Wategos Beach. Keep an eye out for more details.

For all your accomodation needs visit byronbayaccom.net