More sustainable communities lead to a thriving planet. By offering positive options that make our world safer and cleaner, we can promote a better life for everyone. That's why Green Festival®, a project of Global Exchange and Green America, is striving to become a zero-waste event.
Green Festival®, America's green event experts, organizes and manages the landfill diversion, and product conversion for each Green Festival®. With the help of hundreds of dedicated Green Festival® volunteers, led by an enthusiastic and well-educated staff, Green Festival®is able to divert record-breaking amounts of waste from landfills. Plus, Green Festival® works with vendors and event suppliers that offer green alternatives.
Green Festival® Efforts:
- E-waste receptacles are available to participants' for recycling and reuse of their electronic devices.
- Everything that can be recycled at the event is recycled. Enthusiastic volunteers and staff are available to educate and assist attendees in this process.
- Event signs have been designed with reuse in mind. Each piece is made from environmentally friendly materials.
- All Green Festival® collateral is made with recycled materials.
- Green Festival® offsets 100% of its electricity emissions with clean, renewable energy.
- Green Festival® provides incentives for participants using greener modes of transportation.
- Green Festival® is a plastic water bottle-free event! Large water jugs are provided at the event for all participants.
- Every plate, fork, spoon, knife, cup, bowl, napkin, coffee stirrer and sample cup is 100% biodegradable and will be collected with all food scraps to be composted.
- Green Festival® exhibitors are screened for their commitment to sustainable business practices using Green America's green business standards.
What You Can Do:
- Ride your bike, carpool or take public transportation to our events. Check out our Travel page for more details!
- Use recycling and composting bins at the event.
- Bring your own reusable water bottle to the event.
- Bring your own utensils. While serviceware at Green Festival® is biodegradable, using your own utensils is far more sustainable.
- Spread the message!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
At Green Festival®, there is no such thing as a trash can. You'll only find a Resource Recovery Station, a fully-loaded recycling center complete with collection bins for all types of recyclable items, organic and compostable items and the little waste that cannot be recycled. Each station features a trained volunteer who assists attendees and helps to ensure that there is no contamination between the bins.
Even the waste liquids from unfinished beverages are treated as gray-water. Every Resource Recovery Station includes a liquids bucket. This "gray-water" is then collected in massive storage tanks where it is transferred to a treatment center to be cleaned and reused.
One of the most common waste items seen in event waste is the plastic water bottle. Though these bottles are fully recyclable and often infinitely so, they still represent a major part of recycle stream. So, in an effort to reduce the amount of waste produced, Green Festival® uses Water Hydration Stations. These stations provide fresh filtered water, free to the public, to be dispensed in the attendee's own cup or water bottle.
No matter how hard we try to create a zero-waste event, there will always be some item-a Styrofoam cup or cellophane wrapper-that will have no other home but the landfill. Yet the commitment of our exhibitors, decorators, staff, volunteers and producers to strive for that zero-waste event keeps us pushing the envelope toward that 100% clean mark. In San Francisco, where many Green Festival exhibitors, attendees and volunteers have been participating for 10 years, we have achieved a 97% recovery rate, meaning only 3% of waste from the event ended up in a landfill.
At Green Festival®, you won't find the usual plastic and Styrofoam service items. Every exhibitor and vendor is mandated to use only biodegradable service items, or Bio-ware, for all food service and sampling. What this means is that every cup, plate, fork, spoon, bowl, napkin, toothpick, sample cup and food item is 100% compostable. We guarantee that every last item is composted and returned to the Earth as a safe and fertile soil amendment. If a vendor is using anything but Bio-ware, they will be shut down until they secure the serving materials.
Of course, Green Festival® is much more than just food. Event signage is printed on eco-friendly material and is 100% reusable. Signs that cannot be reused are printed on materials that are recyclable, compostable or reusable in some other capacity.
We also work closely with our decorators and service providers to ensure that every item and service is as green as possible. Instead of vinyl table coverings, reusable linens or low-VOC and bio-plastic table coverings are used at Green Festival® to minimize environmental impact. Whenever possible, carpeting and decorative supplies are reused and recycled.
Large events consume large amounts of energy to accommodate event needs, such as food and beverage vending, lighting, audio visual equipment, venue heating and cooling, transportation of goods and people and so on. At Green Festival®, we examine our energy needs and ask the question, "How can we minimize our energy consumption or make it as clean as possible?" This often yields some unique and very effective solutions.
- When possible, Green Festival® takes advantage of natural lighting, and incandescent light bulbs are switched out for compact fluorescents. In large venues, house lighting is often limited to 50-75%.
- All vendors are encouraged to use as little energy as possible when designing their exhibits, and food vendors often do the majority of their cooking offsite, helping to reduce the energy needed for food preparation.
- Green Festival attendees are encouraged to minimize their energy use and Carbon footprint through discounts given for using public transportation or by riding their bicycles and utilizing Green Festival® Bicycle Valet service.
- Green Festival® also goes a step further by seeking out eco-friendly shuttle services for staff and attendees like San Francisco's Teach with The Bus.