London’s Olympia horse show goes even “greener”

Australian driver Boyd Exell at last year's Olympia. © Olympia Horse Show
Australian driver Boyd Exell at last year’s Olympia. Every year, more than 75 tonnes of muck, hay and straw – the equivalent weight of 200 horses – is delivered to a local farm where it is composted and used as fertiliser for crops. © Olympia Horse Show

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, is powering ahead with its ongoing commitment to the environment, and this year’s show will build on sustainability initiatives introduced last year.

Taking place between December 16-22, the week-long show has reduced its use of single-use plastic again ahead of this year’s Christmas extravaganza.

Last year Olympia London and the venue’s in-house caterers, Creative Events and Levy Restaurants eliminated 83% of its single-use plastic and packaging. Plastic straws and cutlery have been replaced with recyclable alternatives such as paper straws and wooden and bamboo cutlery. Cardboard plates and vegware drinking glasses are now used and PET bottles of soft drinks have been replaced with aluminium cans.

Located in the heart of West London, the prestigious Olympia London has always been at the forefront of sustainability and waste management, pioneering several initiatives within the UK event industry.

All catering outlets offer discounted hot drinks to those who bring their own coffee cups, and Olympia London has gone into partnership with Simply Cups. Simply Cups provide separate bins for hot drinks cups, which are fully recycled into products, such as reusable cups. Guests will be able to find Simply Cups bins in the main catering areas of the show.

© Olympia Horse Show

In a drive to reduce energy consumption, all of the venue’s electricity is procured from renewable sources and all of the venue lighting in the arena and Shopping Village has been replaced with LED fittings. Some of the ring’s incandescent bulbs will be replaced with environmentally friendly LED alternatives for the 2019 show.

Every year, more than 75 tonnes of muck, hay and straw – the equivalent weight of 200 horses – is delivered to a local farm where it is composted and used as fertiliser for crops, and this is an initiative the show will continue in 2019.

Water stations will be available near the catering outlets, and new stations have been added this year.

Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said reducing the show’s carbon footprint has been a significant goal in recent years, and none more so than in 2019. “As an international show, we have a responsibility to set an example, which we are doing by continuing to put new sustainability initiatives in place, and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve for many years to come.

“We encourage ticket-holders travelling from around the UK to Olympia to think about their carbon footprint by considering greener ways of travelling, specifically making the most of the excellent public transport links to the venue. We also ask guests to bring their own water bottles rather than buying plastics bottles at the show,” Brooks-Ward said.

Olympia London Business Services and Sustainability Manager Siân Richards said the show was proud of its waste management programme, which has ensured that 100% of the waste output has been diverted from landfill for well more than a decade, with 98% recycled and the remaining 2% recovered as waste for energy.

“Most of the waste produced at Olympia London is sent to a local waste recycling plant, where it’s sorted and sent back into the manufacturing chain to be reused. The main exception to this is food waste, which is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant, where it’s converted into bio-fuel and fertiliser,“ Richards said.

“Olympia London works closely with local food banks and charities around London to ensure that any useable food left over from the event is used to help those less fortunate.”

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