The Garden Events Green Team

Zero Waste Ambassador volunteers help reduce the “waste line” of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s signature events. You can join this movement as a volunteer. It’s educational, impactful, shady and fun!

Signature events like Japanese Festival and Best of Missouri Market are among the most popular activities at the Missouri Botanical Garden, offering thousands of visitors experiences unlike anything in the St. Louis region. Festivals of such scale can generate lots of waste, but thanks to the combined efforts of vendors, volunteers and guests, 90% or more of all food court and sales/sampling waste is goes to compost or gets recycled.

2019 marks the fifth year Garden signature events require that all single-use food and drink serving ware be Certified Compostable so that all food-related waste can go into compost bins. The only exception to this rule is for beverages pre-packaged in bottles or cans, which get recycled. All cardboard boxes are recycled too, along with a quantity of plastic “film” including shrink wrap, ice bags and product package bags and sleeves.

Photo by Wesley Schaefer

While you’re enjoying locally produced food and beverages, please thank our vendors! They are an honorary “Green Team” at Garden events, willing to pay a little more to bring in only Certified Compostable products, supporting sustainability as they serve and sample their fine cultural treats and local foods. Garrett Paper, a local supplier, is a key partner in this effort too. Joe Garrett Jr. has grown a specialization with green products for his family business; sending our vendors here guarantees they will get Certified Compostable supplies.

Photo by Lisa DeLorenzo Hager

And thank our Zero Waste Ambassador volunteers! Dozens of individuals sign up to staff our Waste Station tents for each big festival. This person-power makes compost and recycling collections work. Ambassadors 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 enjoy the Garden events for free; many folks volunteer with a friend, multiplying the help we need.

Zero Waste Ambassador trainings are coming up on August 21 and September 26. Attending a training is helpful but not required. EarthWays Center staff conduct these trainings, and we support both vendors and volunteers to succeed with zero waste goals.

See a job description and complete list of volunteer shifts at mobot.org/volunteer. New this year: the bright yellow Zero Waste Ambassador t-shirt, made from recycled polyester and sustainable cotton.

Jean Ponzi
Green Resources Manager, EarthWays Center

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