Ecozoic Resources partners with Beloved Festival with 37 Permanent BioFilter Toilets
We caught up with Elliot Rasenick, Event Producer for Beloved Festival in Oregon, for a quick interview. For the past 5 years, Elliot and the Beloved team have worked hard to achieve their vision of a truly environmentally responsible festival. In 2018, Ecozoic Resources forged a partnership with Beloved and installed 37 permanent Biofilter Toilets, thereby eliminating Porta-Pottys all together. Congratulations Elliot!
Robb: What’s your experience been with Ecozoic?
Elliot: For a long time, I’ve been dreaming about finding any toilet vendor that is at the top of their field in their responsiveness, in their professionalism, in their understanding of the work that they do, and who is a joy to work with. Ecozoic Resources was the perfect partner- they were the ones I was looking for all along. They are excellent at what they do and they are very fun to work with. And they absolutely share my values.
Robb: As an event producer, how important was it to offer an alternative to Porta-Pottys?
Elliot: The complexity and pace of any event will often requires some compromise of integrity. I’m always looking to get as close a match as possible between the vision and execution of any event.. The event has a story for what it is trying to create in the world. Traditional Porta Pottys, represented the biggest mismatch between the story Beloved is trying to tell and the way the event is impacting the world. Porta Pottys are run by mafia, employing manipulative business practices, using toxic chemicals and dumping them into the waterways, burning fossil fuels to transport what should be valuable material, meanwhile, the experience of using them is terrible for everybody involved. I was always wondering- how can I avoid them? The dream seemed so big, and so critical for the event to fulfill.
Robb: Did you get a lot of gratitude for the efforts you made to accommodate your attendees?
Elliot: Yes absolutely! We’ve been experimenting with composting toilets for about 4 years. But we’ve never found a partner that has actually been able to do it well. Our audience has been watching us try to do this for 4 years with varying degrees of success. There’s just been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm that, with Ecozoic’s support, we finally got toilets right.
Robb: What kind of other alternatives to Porta Pottys did you try?
Elliot: In 2016 there were 3,000 manual hand transfers of 5 gallon buckets with human waste that were done by staff and volunteers. It was an extremely difficult and gross experience for our team. That in itself was a huge problem. The fundamental benefit of the Ecozoic model over the human model is the automated separation of poop and pee. Thats a HUGE deal, where when you manually transfer commingled material you have huge challenges. In a chaotic environment that is filled with people, it’s actually dangerous. The Ecozoic units themselves are handling liquid separation, thats baked into the design. And that dramatically limits the amount of time we are transferring wastes. The mass is decreasing rapidly, by design. It’s truly genius.
Robb: What kind of impact did Ecozoic have on your production?
Elliot: Having a partner that is very able to define their needs in the beginning is amazing. Every need has been clearly communicated in advance, and that’s what really made this a success. It’s like they have been doing it for decades.
Robb: What is being done with the byproduct of the 37 Ecozoic Units from the 2018 event?
Elliot: Before the 2019 event, the reclaimed material will be used to build soil health in the forest onsite. We think that beloved as a 3,000 person event was the largest camping event in several decades in the US to reclaim 100% of the human waste.
Robb: Congratulations on that! Were the local health and code departments receptive to you?
Elliot: We’ve been working with them to permit composting toilets for years, though none have been as refined as the Ecozoic model. The Lincoln County, Oregon Health Dept was congratulatory, along with the Planning department, the county office that oversees event permitting. They were really excited about what happened.