By Lana Brandt
Food waste is a global issue with an estimated one third of all food produced ending up as waste. Although much of this food waste occurs in our homes, events also have a shocking amount of waste too.
Catering is always one of the first details I take into consideration when trying to reduce the footprint of any event. Not only is it important to consider each of the ingredients chosen for your menu and how the food arrives to your event, it also is key to not order too much food.
Wasted food uses valuable land, energy and water not to mention the impact it has on climate change. It has been estimated globally that the processing of food that ends up being wasted equals roughly 3.3. billion tons of CO2. Composting is a better solution to the landfill, but it still really depresses me to think of all this perfectly edible food going to waste when so many people go hungry everyday. It seemed like a missed opportunity, so when I started doing a little research around what food recovery organizations exist locally in Vancouver, I was surprised to really have to dig for solutions.
Luckily the Food Stash Foundation not only reduces the environmental impact of food waste, but they also help strengthen our Vancouver community by delivering unwanted food to those dealing with food insecurity. Each month they re-direct over 15,000 pounds of fresh edible food to those most in need. After connecting with their team, I was thrilled for Plan-it Green to partner with Food Stash on events. Moving forward, we will be working together to raise the bar on zero waste events, while helping to feed local children, seniors, and those in need.
Solutions exist and when it comest to events, there are many easy ways to do your part in reducing food waste. Thanks for doing your part in supporting a healthier planet and community.
Ten ways to reduce food waste at your next event:
Life less plastic
Plastic waste is one of the biggest issues we face environmentally. Scientists predict that by 2050, our ocean will have more plastic than fish. For years I have been overwhelmed knowing there are five patches of floating debris in the ocean that are primarily plastic and not only is it is deadly to marine life, it is also accelerating climate change.
Everyone has a part to play in reducing plastic use and event organizers can have a huge impact by making simple efforts to ensure their events are plastic-free and even better yet, zero-waste events. By skipping plastic and sourcing eco-friendly and more natural alternatives, your event can be part of the solution.
Take a careful look at all of your planning logistics the next time you are hosting an event and you will be amazed at how easy plastic can find its way into your event if you are not making a conscious effort to go plastic-free. Here are ten easy ways to skip plastic at your next event:
1) Ditch plastic disposables! Rental glassware, dishes and cutlery are an easy solution for skipping single-use plastic. If disposables are required, source eco-friendly options including biodegradable dishes and glassware.
2) Provide pitchers of filtered water and juice instead of plastic bottles.
3) Avoid plastic promotional products or any swag that is likely to just end up in the landfill. Plastic coffee mugs, pens, and key chains are swag of the past.
4) Source eco-friendly name badges as let's face it, guests tend to forget to recycle their lanyards after events.
5) Replace plastic decorations with natural decor and eco-friendly alternatives.
6) Balloons made with Mylar have a plastic layer that takes years to decompose and too often balloons are not properly disposed of causing havoc for our critter friends. Did you know that balloons are the number one marine debris risk of mortality for seabirds?!
7) Need printed signage? Carefully consider the materials to avoid unnecessary plastics found in materials like corroplast and foam core.
8) Giving gifts at your event? Be mindful to skip plastic gift wrap commonly found in bows, gift bags and wrapping paper (think sparkles and glossy coating).
9) Skip plastic straws all together or look for paper options if necessary. Some people require straws and there are many sustainable options you can easily source.
10) Hire caterers, venues and other eco-friendly vendors that prioritize going plastic-free. Be sure to talk to them about your zero-waste goals to ensure your event is a success!
Thank you for doing your part to go plastic-free!