Materials Flow Analysis

DGTL Material Flow Analysis

Firstly, what is a Material Flow Analysis?

It is a process of analysing how materials flow through a process or system, in this case an event. The purpose of a MFA is to track the total materials (timber, metal, plastic, food etc) used by the event – the volume flowing into the event, any consumption during use phase, and then the ‘end of life’ (which is hopefully into the circular system as a new input!)

Completing a MFA is a complex piece of work but when done well it becomes a valuable decision-making tool and also is an excellent illustrative example for your stakeholders on the responsible and circular approach to materials management. 

DGTL 2018 (Amsterdam)

DGTL, a festival in Amsterdam, believes that ‘waste’ does not exist and therefore they strive to transition towards a circular festival using circular systems. In order to achieve this, they continue to introduce new ways to convert all of their waste into valuable resources.

With the help of consultancy Metabolic, they traced the materials flow of everything coming in and out of the festival. This allowed them to plan for a truly circular festival.

The graphic above is their Materials Flow Analysis (MFA). This is depicted as a ‘Sankey-diagram’, read from left (inputs) to right (outputs). This helps to visualise the different resources and their flows – what was consumed by the event and where the materials ‘end up’. 

Based on learnings from its 2017 edition, in 2018 DGTL made a number of fundamental changes to the set-up and operation of the festival, including a hard-cup rotation system, circular food court, design for disassembly, a recycle and pyrolysis hub.