In 2011, Garden events went super-green, adding food waste composting to our garden-variety recycling. This fall’s Best of Missouri Market® will mark seven years of evolving our sustainability efforts, as we host tens of thousands of guests.
Recycling has long been standard practice for Garden signature events, including Chinese Culture Days, Green Homes Festival, Japanese Festival, and Best of Missouri Market. Collection of cans, bottles and cardboard from these events laid the groundwork for the much more demanding process of managing food waste.
“By combining composting and recycling, the Garden is able to routinely send 90% or more of waste from our events on for beneficial uses, instead of to the landfill,” says Deb Frank, Vice President of Sustainability. Deb’s problem-solving leadership has grown the Garden’s systems of managing event waste, encouraging everyone from vendors to staff to volunteers, and making these ambitious green goals work!
When you visit, please thank our vendors! They are our Honorary Green Team at Best of Missouri Market and other events. They are willing to pay a little more to bring in only certified compostable products, supporting sustainability as they serve and sample their fine local and cultural beverages and foods.
And thank our Green Ambassador volunteers! Dozens of individuals sign up to staff our Waste Station tents for each big Garden event. This person-power is essential to make compost and recycling collections work. Green Ambassadors are our force for visitor education. Over and over they answer questions like “How can this plastic fork get composted?” (It’s made from vegetable oil, not petroleum) and never tire of the interactions. After their work shift, they get to enjoy our events for free, so many folks volunteer with a friend, multiplying the help we need.
Green Resources Coodinator, EarthWays Center