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Boston Local Food Festival: Zero Waste?

The Boston Local Food Festival was seriously crowded on Saturday. (After elbowing through people for half an hour, Jason and I actually ended up eating lunch at a bar down the street and came back after it cleared out a bit.) There were so many interesting booths, from organic restaurants to local farms to random environmental services that I want to try. But by far the thing I was most impressed with was the trash.

A trash can turned into a lovely fall display

The organizers were trying to make it a zero-waste event, so the regular trash cans around the area were covered up and instead waste stations were sprinkled around the grounds with bags for trash, compost, and recyclables. Even better, a volunteer stood behind each one to help people figure out what belonged where, making sure everything ended up in the right place and turning it into an educational experience.

A lovely trash monitor

I’m not sure how much Save That Stuff was involved with organizing the trash collection, but they were partners for the event and they had a booth there explaining very clearly the recycling process and what different materials get recycled into. They seem to be very proactive when it comes to encouraging people to recycle.

To cut down on the trash, the festival organizers required vendors to serve food and drink in compostable containers, and the water available was tap water (billed as “local water from the Quabbin Reservoir”) served in paper cups. There were still offenders (I’m looking at you, Olivia’s Organics, with salads packed in two layers of plastic), but overall it was far less waste than one would expect from a festival of this size.

I think the Boston Local Food Festival was a model for how waste collection (and reduction) at large events like this should be handled. Now that this has been done well, I’m hoping that other events will follow its example. And I’m hoping that we can do something like this for Berklee events like the Opening Day barbeque, too.

One year ago: Mac ‘n’ Squash.


Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time October 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

[…] was a statewide green homes open house last Saturday that I missed (for the Boston Local Food Festival), but in looking through the homes on the website I was amazed to see that one listed their yearly […]

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time May 19, 2011 at 10:39 pm

[…] only other company that does this is Save that Stuff in Charlestown. They have a lot tighter footprint; they don’t branch out to the suburbs much at […]

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time October 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm

[…] the vendors I discovered at the Boston Local Food Festival. But the thing I was really taken with last year was the trash collection. This year they diverted 13.16% waste  than last year—by composting […]

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