Every year since 2017, DGTL created Material Flow Analyses to demonstrate the inputs and outputs of the festival. This tool provides insight to what the festival consumes in terms of energy, water, materials (front and backstage), and food and drinks. By mapping how resources are processed before and after the festival, the MFA is also a key element for DGTL's sustainability goals. It serves as a stepping stone to quantify environmental impacts and provides an overview of interventions points where DGTL can improve. 

The visualization below outlines the impacts of DGTL's interventions over the past 4 years as they embarked on the journey of becoming the first circular festival by 2020. These impacts are also visualized in the DGTL Doughnut: CO2, NOx, fresh water usage, chemical pollution (in the form of plastic), and residual waste.

For details on MFA's and calculations of outputs for each year click [here]

CO2 & Nox

The main sources of DGTL's CO2 and NOx emissions are mobility, energy usage and food. Over the past few years DGTL has focused on reducing these emissions via several measures. Within mobility, flights from artists and visitors are the largest source of carbon and NOx emissions. To reduce flight traffic, DGTL contacted several train companies such as Eurostar, Thalys, GVB, and NS to set up deals for visitors to buy cheap train tickets to get to the festival. Travel via carpooling and buses is also highly promoted. During the festival, the ferries that take visitors to the NDSM-wharf are now hybrid with the aim to become fully electric in the future. Finally, a large number of fork trucks, cranes and other machines are used to build the festival. The NOx and CO2 emissions from machinery can be reduced by changing from diesel to biodiesel.


To decrease carbon emission from the energy sector, the festival cut down on diesel generators and replaced them for biodiesel generators (see energy page for more detail). In 2019 there was only 1 diesel generator instead of 3 in 2018. In 2020, the aim is to have no such generators and to be completely connected to the energy points of the NDSM-wharf supplied by Green Choice. In order for the food system to have a smaller environmental impact, the entire menu of DGTL in 2019 was meat free and meals were prepared with ‘’rescued’’ food that would have otherwise been discarded. In 2020, the menu is supposed to be entirely plant based. 

Fresh water use

Despite good efforts in 2018, DGTL returned to mobile dixies and flush toilets in 2019. These were reintroduced to offer more comfort to visitors. An ideal toilet option is one that can extract nutrients, reduce water usage, and offer a high level of comfort. In 2020 DGTL hopes to meet this criteria by a large scale implementation of circular dry toilets. Dry toilets significantly minimize fresh water use and allow for nutrients to be reclaimed from human waste. To put it in perspective, a family of four uses on average 160 cubic metres of drinking water a year to flush their toilet. With a dry toilet the same family would use virtually no water and produce around half a wheelbarrow of usable compost with nutrients such as struvite and phosphate retrieved from human waste. At DGTL 2020 with the help of dry toilets, urine from toilets will be filtered into grey water which can be used to flush other toilets and solid waste will be separated for compost. This is a large step towards circular sanitation (Van Dooijeweerd, 2020).

Chemical pollution

Because chemical pollution is a broad concept, we chose to focus on plastics to represent this stream in the doughnut. Plastic use at DGTL festival has been tackled since 2016 when disposable plastic cups were replaced for hard cups. From then onward, plastic tableware became less available at the festival and is now completely banned. Since 2017, plastic waste is reduced from 2109 to 770 kg in 2019 for the entire festival. The main source of plastic waste is downcylced hard cups and pet bottles in which water is sold (Kotvis, 2020).

Residual waste

The first step to generate less waste is to have a critical look at what materials are used and how these materials can be reduced. The materials that are used should have the possibility for reuse while maintaining relatively similar value. As mentioned above, DGTL s up the resource street to separate the different waste streams at the festival and use them as resources. This allows for a better purpose of materials within the festival and easy seperation for companies that collect the waste streams from the festival. Thereby, the backstage materials for decor and infrastructure are rented when possible and are used in the same state at other festivals (Kotvis, 2020). Over time the focus was on reducing and reuseing more materials to lower the amount of waste that is incinerated or downcycled.