Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

Eco-Wiesn

Green electricity, green natural gas: that’s how eco-friendly the Wiesn is

Fairground rides move, play music and are illuminated with colorful lights; beer mugs are washed; chickens are grilled. Without electricity, water and natural gas nothing would run at Oktoberfest at all. With a well thought out eco-plan, the Wiesn is nevertheless a model big event, which has even won the “eco-Oscar” from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Green electricity and green natural gas at Oktoberfest

Since 2012 all showmen, traders and proprietors at the Wiesn have been supplied with M-Ökostrom (a green energy tariff). And over 60 percent of showmen use the “M-Ökoaktiv” offer from Munich City Utilities. By using M-Ökoaktiv, in addition to using M-Ökostrom and M-Ökogas, they are supporting the construction of renewable energy plants by paying a premium on top.

The festival management thinks and acts ecologically too: Since 2000 all public spaces at Oktoberfest, the “Wiesn streets” and the public restrooms have been powered by green electricity.

In addition to M-Ökostrom, all of the over 50 food outlets at the Wiesn use M-Ökogas. By providing the eco-friendly M-Ökostrom and M-Ökogas for all, 1,000 metric tonnes of CO2 are saved each year.

Eco points at Oktoberfest

If a fairground ride, stall or business owner wants to apply for a spot at Oktoberfest, since 1995 they have been able to accrue points towards being awarded one according to their “ecological compatibility”. Which criteria are taken into account? For example the use of biodegradable hydraulic oil in the fairground rides. For the food stalls it is, among other things, the use of organic produce. You can gain eco points with energy saving methods, for example the installation of solar panels or the use of LEDs in the tents and in the fairground rides.

Waste reduction and garbage separation at the Wiesn

Oktoberfest has developed its own waste avoidance system. This means that: disposable tableware is banned and garbage is strictly separated. Since 1991 only reusable tableware and cutlery has been allowed at the Wiesn. The beer mug is the most famous example of this but soft drinks and water are also served in reusable bottles with a minimum deposit of 1 euro. Cans are nowhere to be found at the Wiesn – they are not allowed. The containers that food and beer mugs are delivered in must also be reusable.

Water recycling for a sustainable Wiesn

Since 1998 there has been a recycling project at Oktoberfest, which involves conserving water: In 7 beer tents (Pschorr Bräurosl, Hacker-Festzelt, Hofbräu-Festzelt, Löwenbräu-Festzelt, Marstall Festzelt, Schottenhamel-Festhalle and Paulaner Festzelt) and in the chicken grills “Zum Stiftl”, “Poschner's” and “Goldener Hahn” the waste water from the beer mug dishwashers doesn’t go straight down the drain but is used for the tent restrooms. (Updated 2018)

Organic delicacies at Oktoberfest

In terms of its cuisine, the Wiesn is also a big eco event! Lots of businesses are certified under the EU-Eco-regulation No. 834/2007. On their menus you can find lots of organic Volksfest delicacies: from classics like Wiesn chicken and bratwurst to steak sandwiches and roasted almonds and chocolate bananas. But it’s not just the food that’s eco-friendly: food miles are taken into account and an effort is made to offer CO2-neutral products – like the famous gingerbread hearts, for example.

Fun Fact: Oktoberfest used no electricity until 1866

Unimaginable today: Oktoberfest used to function with no electricity whatsoever. It had to, since the invention of the electric generator was a long way off in 1810 when the first Wiesn took place. It wasn’t until 1866 that Werner von Siemens discovered the principle behind the electric dynamo and used it to develop the first electric generator.