Every summer, more and more organizations look to make their parties, festivals and special events more sustainable by increasing their waste diversion efforts. Since 2004, Canada's Largest Ribfest has been showing how to successfully pull off an earth-friendly festival.
Every year, around 150,000 people flock to Spencer Smith Park in Burlington to chow down at Canada's Largest Ribfest. You'd expect this number of people to generate plenty of trash, from napkins to paper plates to drink containers, but organizers, the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore take pains to ensure participants use biodegradable or recyclable products, while offering on-site recycling sorting stations.
"People think it's wonderful," said Ann Oatman, the festival's waste management coordinator. "They are so co-operative and willing to do their part. It says a lot about our community."
Their work has been paying off with increasing diversion rates. In 2005, the festival diverted just over 5 tonnes of waste. In 2010, with help from Halton Region's waste removal division, Canada's Largest Ribfest diverted, recycled and composted more than 46 tonnes of waste, an overall diversion rate of 82 per cent. The festival's efforts have been recognized by the Recycling Council of Ontario and Festivals and Events Ontario.
"We've come along way" said Oatman. "They are setting a very good example and it sends a signal that we care about the environment here in Burlington."