Toronto Garlic Festival is an annual event with a typical attendance of 3,000 to 4,000 visitors. Prior to 2022, the Festival was producing a substantial amount of single-use beverage cups, cutlery and food packaging waste. This year we avoided 4,533 disposables!
To reduce waste at the 2022 Festival, and to prepare for the Federal single-use plastic ban, we partnered with Dream Zero (dreamzero.ca), a Canadian company that rents reusable dishware for public events and food businesses.
The two main goals of our program were to reduce waste from being produced in the first place; and second, to divert any produced waste from going to the landfill. Under our Waste Reduction Program vendors served food on reusable dishware, and visitors returned their used plates, cutlery and cups at Eco Stations throughout the Festival. At each Eco Station, volunteer Green Team Ambassadors helped visitors sort their waste into the appropriate stream (recycling, compost and landfill).
With 18 vendors in participation, we achieved an estimated 65-75% decrease in waste. We hope that the methods and lessons learned from our Waste Reduction Project inspires other event managers to make waste-reducing changes.
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