Many of us love a good festival or concert, but often we don’t tend to think about what really goes into these events, and for that matter, what comes out of it. One young company leading the way in waste management with a huge positive environmental impact is Adelaide Green Clean. We sat down with Jordan Walsh, Managing Director and Daniel Weekley, Operations Manager, to see what it’s all about. As it turns out, these guys have a pretty inspiring plan to make a huge difference not just in Adelaide, but around the World.
Adelaide Green Clean does commercial and event cleaning, and waste management, but it’s all completely environmentally conscious. You’ve more than likely seen them at an event you’ve been to this past festival season, whether it be WOMADelaide or the Royal Croquet Club, those yellow vests are hard to miss. What you probably don’t know is that this company is not just picking up the rubbish, but providing the different bins, sort the waste, clean the toilets and everything in between. Their aim is to make events have zero waste to landfill, so everything is recycled, composted, or converted into alternative fuels. Thanks to AGC, “Out of WOMADelaide, 98% of the waste was recyclable”, said Jordan.
The company only started in 2013, and since then, has completely skyrocketed. “We’ve gone from there to here” says Jordan, as he gestures to the ceiling. “We came into it and thought, why are we sending all this waste to land fill when we could use it as alternative fuel, we could recycle it…” he said.
As well as their extensive waste management program, one of their main aims is to educate the rest of us on how simple it can be to be environmentally conscious in what we consume. “At events like Womad, we had 100,000 people come through. If we can educate 100,000 people to do the right thing, they go back to their houses and start using their recycling bins properly”, said Jordan. “A lot of people saw compostable bins and recycling bins, and didn’t know where to put their rubbish, so we educate them so that they go home and realise not everything has to go to rubbish and be waste”, said Daniel, “it’s pretty cool to see that happening”.
Environmental practices seem to be slowly integrating their way into everyday routine, with green bags, solar panels and recycling becoming commonplace. Environmentalism is on the up track, however ‘uncool’ it can tend to be at times. “As soon as you say environmentally friendly, people tend to think it’s good, but they don’t really think of the processes”, said Daniel. “A lot of people are willing to do the right thing, they just want to know how”, Jordan reiterated.
The business has been completely built from the ground up, with hard work and dedication the main keys to success in this story. “At the start…we did everything ourselves, and seeing a company go from where we had myself and Daniel working, to now employing over 150 people… it’s mind blowing to think of the things we’ve done, where we’ve come from, the jobs we’ve created…” explained Jordan. Considering the unfortunate figures concerning unemployment in SA coming out recently, it’s yet another positive that a business like Adelaide Green Clean provide jobs for so many people that don’t need a higher education.
“We’ve got the freedom to make a
difference every day”
Their success only continues, with the company being made a finalist in this year’s Telstra SA Business Awards after barely 2 years of operation. Jordan and Daniel passionately express just how much it means to have such acknowledgement of their success. However, it’s important to remember that when events or festivals are discontinued (Future Music and Big Day Out, to name a couple), it’s not just the ticket buyers that are disappointed. As Jordan agreed, “it affects the economy in such a broad spectrum”. Consider also, the Royal Croquet Club, which is slowly being driven out of our city by organizations and individuals wanting to reduce it as much as possible. AGC were on hand to clean the RCC this year, and if it is to be discontinued next year, 30 people no longer have a job. “It’s interesting to see how things like that can effect people like us”, he said, “Adelaide is awesome, it’s growing, and we hope the RCC stays for that reason”, he said.
On a positive note, it’s great to see events like Asiafest go from 3 to 10 days this year, not only for everyone who now has 10 days to enjoy the festival, but for the hundreds of people that have so much more work and income from that event. The individuals who work behind the scenes, the caterers, the performers, and the people – like AGC – who clean it all up and make sure it’s having as little impact on the environment as possible.
At the end of the day, it turns out doing their bit for the environment is also a lot of fun. “We have the time of our life; we’re doing the right thing by the environment”, said Jordan. While they’re doing great things for Adelaide at the moment, world domination is the end game, “The end goal is to clean the Olympics”, he says. I see few reasons why they can’t get there, and it will only be yet another proud moment for Adelaide to see a business born here grow into the world.
All other photos courtesy of Adelaide Green Clean