Sustainability is no longer a buzzword, but a prerequisite to putting on large scale events. Anyone who saw the after-effects of the Glastonbury Festival in 2023 and the sea of trash and discarded tents left by festival-goers knows that events generate mountains of garbage. Food festivals are particularly bad culprits with all the utensils, plates, napkins, cups, bottles, plastic packaging, grease, and food scraps. Even corporate meetings can generate tons of paper; concerts and fairs require massive energy expenditure for pyrotechnics and rides; human waste in port-a-potties is a contributor to methane gas.
So how do we make this better? One small way to start is to swap out plastic for sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, hemp, and recycled paper, and avoid falling into the trap of using consumable products that aren't really environmentally friendly but practice greenwashing. There are many companies on the cutting edge of this movement and we highlight a few right here:
Who Gives A Crap? is a US-based company that produces toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels made from recycled paper or bamboo. They have a sister company, Good Time, that makes zero waste shampoo and conditioning bars as well as soaps for cleansing and exfoliation. Cloud Paper, The Good Roll, and Seek Bamboo, and Amazon Aware also offer both recycled and sustainable toilet paper among other zero-waste bulk items.
The Sustainable Agave Company creates 100% compostable cutlery, straws, and cups out of tequila-production agave waste which can all be ordered in bulk for your events. Not only will you be diverting agave waste from landfills, but also reducing plastic production and waste. They also create sustainable food packaging including Kraft Boats, compostable bags, and food containers made from sugar cane.
Bamboo is also a popular choice, with The Webstaurant Store offering ECO Sky Blue Handle Birchwood Cutlery, Bambu creating compostable plates and dinnerware, and Woodable providing disposable, compostable boxes of knives, forks, and spoons.
TRASH & RECYCLING BAGS
Check out the TOMbag! A reusable garbage bag? Yes. For compost or recycling that can be emptied into a bin and doesn't need to be bagged in the bin, the TOMbag is perfect for rinsing out and reusing. Wheras most compostable bags tend to be flimsy and rip easily, SUPERBIO makes extra thick 33 gallon compostable bags which the company claims will degrade to humus, CO2 and water within 180 days when placed in a standard compost pile. Green Paper Products, one of the foremost brands offering sustainable products of all kinds (from toilet paper to cutlery and food receptacles to cleaning products), has a wide range of compostable trash bags from 2.5 gallon all the way up to 90 gallons (90 gallons! who could carry that?!).
And of course, Amazon carries many of these brands and their own versions of these products online. If you are looking for more sustainable products in your day to day life, web searches using the words "zero waste" before whatever it is you are looking for is the best way to find what you are looking for.
Also check out PopUP CleanUP's earlier blog post on how to throw a Green Party. Let's all do our part to help protect Mother Earth.