Joep Wijffels runs De Mengtafel, an initiative by youthhostel chain.StayOkay to connect its visitors and celebrate its 90th birthday. Running this project since April 2019, he became the driving force behind StayOkay’s collaboration with Pieter Smit. But, there’s more to this young and ambitious event manager: his passion for sustainability is in everything he does!
So what is your connection to Pieter Smit?
“De Mengtafel comes with a décor built and designed specifically for this production has to be moved from site to site. That’s where Pieter Smit came in. Like most bigger productions we didn’t start this big- but once we started growing, we needed bigger vans that required specific driver’s licenses. So, I asked StayOkay to consider using HVO fuel. It took time to motivate all our staff members, but now everyone is convinced that it’s worth it. I think it’s really important to keep the conversation going, to give people some more insight into how HVO works.”
Why is switching to HVO fuel so important?
“Well, since HVO is made out of trash you don’t burn fossil fuels. All you’re burning is garbage- and that would end up being burned anyway. I mean, at the end of the day, alternative energy is in transition. Maybe the next step towards a greener planet is solar energy, who knows. The most important thing about HVO I think is that you’re using waste to create high-quality fuel.”
Would you say it’s a trend in our industry?
“Oh, I hope so. It should be. But KLM for example is building a factory to make HVO for their planes, as an intermediate stage of their journey to go green. So it’s not just an entertainment industry trend- it’s something that a lot of people in the transport industry are already thinking about. Pieter Smit is ”
Are there other ways in which you and StayOkay are working on sustainability?
“For De Mengtafel we work together with InStock, a restaurant chain whose ingredients are sourced from grocery stores that would otherwise throw them away. Because vegetables look funny, because they’re a few days old, there are so many reasons why food is wasted every day. StayOkay really tries to up their recycling game and Pieter Smit is a great part of that process. Besides that, I’m a board member of Lab Vlieland, a foundation that seeks to improve the circular economy. Lab Vlieland was founded by people who are also involved in Into The Great Wide Open festival. They introduced the use of HVO four or five years ago through their generators and have been using it to fuel their shuttle buses since last year. Overall, HVO is an important change on the road towards 100% renewable energy.”