It seems that everywhere you look from April to September there is a Street Fair going on. Whether it is a music festival, an art show, a craft fair or just a bunch of local merchants selling stuff to the locals on a Friday night on Main Street, we seem to love hanging outside with the other members of our community doing something. It doesn’t take much of an excuse to get a lot of people to show up, and if there is food and/or music being served up, you can almost guarantee a crowd.
Whenever more than three people get together anywhere in America, there is usually going to be food involved. That’s a great thing and adds to the fun of the event. Whenever you introduce food, you also introduce waste, so let’s look at some ways that we can mitigate or eliminate the waste from these types of events, and even put the waste to great use inside the community without having to place anything in a landfill.
If it is summer time, you can bet that burgers, hot dogs, ribs or pizza will be on the menu, and all of them require one thing: A disposable plate and other types of disposable tableware. Instead of just simply coming up with a way to dispose of the trash from the street fair, what if we did a little advance planning and turn the trash into something beneficial. Instead of serving the food on foam plates, we used a compostable, disposable plate? If the cups, cutlery straws, napkins, etc. were all made from a compostable material like sugar cane or bamboo, which are both annually renewable materials, we could compost all of the disposable tableware items, and the waste food material from the street fair and turn it into compost. That compost can then be used by folks at the local community garden, or could be sold to the town’s residents for use in their own yard to grow plants, herbs and maybe even what will be for sale at next month’s street fair.
Many communities around the country have a commercial composting facility in the community or close by, in a neighboring town. There are thousands of composting locations throughout the country and they need this raw material to keep their operations going, and will work with you to produce a finished product that benefits everyone. Rather than dumping a lot of foam plates and cups in the local landfill, filling up that space and causing the community to eventually look for a new landfill location, why not compost all of the tableware items and food scraps and turn it into something useful. It just takes a little planning and cooperation to achieve great results.