Day Zero Festival: A Synchronized Dance of Regeneration and Innovation

By Sandra Ponce de Leon Sandra Ponce de Leon has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 8, 2024

For over a decade, Day Zero has illuminated the Mayan jungle with an 18-hour celebration of Dance, Culture, and Mysticism, intertwining deep sustainability roots with an electrifying visual and sound experience that pays beautiful homage to the magic and mysticism of the Mayan culture. Since its inception 12 years ago, coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar, this conscious electronic festival, founded by Damian Lazarus, has embodied the Burning Man ethos of Leave No Trace. Every year, his team, the Cross Town Rebels, meticulously commits to restoring the jungle to its original pristine condition, ensuring no plastic waste is left behind. 

Achieving ‘Leave No Trace’ Through Collective Action and Partnership

For three years, Day Zero has partnered with Petgas, a pioneer in environmental tech, for its sustainability program, ensuring the festival’s plastic-neutral footprint and minimal ecological impact. At the forefront of green innovation, Petgas embodies its values through its slogan, People Empowering Transformation, Gratitude Activation System. This ethos gave rise to the Guardians of Nature, a dedicated network of volunteers mobilizing for positive planetary action. The collective initially started as a way for NFT communities, like House of Panther, CocoCoinClub and PetgasNFT to take IRL action for the planet and for their community members to be rewarded with “unlockable content” such as tickets to events as well as tokens for future events and products trading.

In the first year, the Guardians of Nature were activated at the festival to pick up waste such as cigarette butts and plastic. The following year, the collaboration expanded incorporating Petgas’ innovation that transforms plastic into clean energy to power festival generators with Petdiesel, diesel made from plastic waste.

This year, the collaboration expanded to engage the community with an action and incentivization program that asked Guardians to take part in a minimum of 5 planet positive actions to be able to attend the Day Zero Festival. Those planet positive initiatives in Tulum included specific neighborhood cleanups, a special daytrip to clean Sian Ka’an, Tulum’s Unesco World Heritage biopreserve, and urban tree plantings for Tulum’s green future with the municipality. Further, Guardians could take additional actions through self organized cleanups adhering to specific guidelines, or spend time sorting and measuring collections at recycling center, Tulum Circula, a key partner in Tulum’s plastic sequestration efforts. 

We were thrilled this year to be able to expand Day Zero´s sustainability program, actively engaging and connecting with our beloved Tulum community,” expressed Grace Barros, Head of Sustainability at Day Zero. “Day Zero is much more than just a music festival, we are an organization that is dedicated to environmental stewardship and community well-being. Guardians of Nature has enabled us to amplify our impact and strengthen our ties within the community.

Regeneration: Proof Points for the Web3 Economy

ReFi Tulum has been playing a central role in educating the local, expat and global digital community about web3, and supporting the adoption of crypto and decentralized economic systems. Through a rewards system, Guardians of Nature were incentivized to participate in positive actions for the planet, effectively showcasing a new economic model where constructive behaviors are rewarded and waste can take on new meaning as a valuable resource. The tokens issued were not merely symbolic; they represented a novel economic use. For instance, participants could accumulate 500 Tulum Coins, which were redeemable for a pass to the Day Zero Festival, demonstrating the feasibility of an economy founded on environmental stewardship. This effort aligns with the country’s growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with 42% of Mexican companies considering their adoption. All participants also received PetGasCoins, a token that derives value from plastic waste transformed into non-fossil fuel energy, tra

deable in different places in Tulum and all over the world.

Closing the Loop with Plastic Credits and Blockchain Tracking

Going beyond just recycling, the team has taken a significant step in tracking and traceability of plastic and waste gathered from its different efforts. During the recent cleanup of Sian Kaan, in collaboration with Day Zero, the Guardians successfully collected over 208 kilograms of waste from its beautiful shores. Remarkably, 93% of this waste consisted predominantly of plastic, such as HDPE (bottle caps, detergent containers, toys), PET (water bottles), and various other types of plastic coming from locations as distant as Korea and Russia. These metrics are now securely recorded on blockchain, and plastic credits issued that can be purchased on their global marketplace, allowing organizations to offset their plastic footprint through the purchase of these credits, akin to the widely used carbon credit markets. 

Transforming Plastic Waste into Value

Through the use of innovative technologies, all of the collected plastic can be transformed into different non-fossil fuels that come with a product passport that allow tracking back to the point of collection.

Similar to carbon sequestration efforts such as tree planting, by removing plastic waste from the environment and turning it into new non fossil fuel energy to run any engine, it is sequestered and prevented from further polluting the environment or our atmosphere. 

This utilization of blockchain technology adds an unprecedented level of credibility to environmental actions, pioneering a unique blend of community integration, innovation, and people that, of course, love music! 

In a time where regeneration is imperative, Day Zero, Petgas, ReFi Tulum, Tulum Coin, Crosstown Rebels, Digilogics, and Tulum Circula emerge as brilliant and inspirational collaborators, leading the charge for a new era of action in ecological conservation and regeneration. A new era that dances at the crossroads of music, community, and environmental consciousness, with Day Zero setting a powerful example of how music festivals can lead the charge towards a greener, more regenerative future.

Full Disclosure: Author is cofounder of ReFi Tulum and is working in partnership with Day Zero Festival however this is not a paid post.

By Sandra Ponce de Leon Sandra Ponce de Leon has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Sandra Ponce de Leon is a Columnist at Grit Daily. She is the owner of NFT Boutique in Tulum. Before establishing her home base in Mexico, Sandra enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the Silicon Valley tech scene as a marketing executive, startup cofounder and advisor to companies through several successful exits. With a background that crosses consumer and business markets, Sandra writes regularly in publications such as Grit Daily, Forbes, and The StartUp. She is a tech passionista and ocean actionist that has a focus on tech for good and covers topics such as Web3, blue tech, regenerative technologies, and AI. Sandra's long history in Silicon Valley has enabled her to forge friendships and business relationships with the industry's top tech leaders and influencers which inform much of her extensive body of work. Sandra is also the cofounder of Unlockable Content Agency and is currently connecting the waves of the Blue Heart Economy, a heart-led ecosystem that harnesses the power of Web3 to achieve plastic neutrality.

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