We need to work out how we create less environmentally damaging events.
What have we done?
Unless you have been in space for the whole of 2018 it will have become horribly clear what we have actually done to our planet. We didn’t realise we were doing everything so wrong. Plastic is lighter than glass meaning transportation is cheaper & easier. So instead of being that return and reuse society we once were, we’ve became a throw away nation ..ok world! We didn’t realise that every single piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet.
This year has been the one of stark realisation for me & most. For some time we have seen images of the floating plastic island that’s 3 times the size of France. But now every social media is showing the next stage. These bottles, cups, fishing line and so on become brittle and break down, being ingested by fish, sea birds and wildlife, potentially killing them and I’m sure it won’t be long (maybe it’s happened already) before a shard of plastic is sticking out of our fish dinner.
The biggest culprits
We need to all take blame and do our bit. There are some industries that are worse than others for waste & I’m ashamed to say the events world is a big bad culprit. We can’t hide any more. We have to do something.
I have worked in and seen many of London’s catering warehouses and I can see many ways to reduce waste in general (I absolutely hate all waste from food to plastic and everything in between and that goes for leaving offices full of computers on over night. It’s still a resource that we are wasting!).
7 quick fixes
- Make or buy rigid boxes for trays & glass wear. Send it to the event like this. It actually makes breaking down at the end of the night quicker. Even better if these boxes have a photo attached of what should be inside. Makes stocktaking easier & most efficient.
- For unusual shaped fragile items with no box, protect all sides with cardboard. Kitchens and offices receive goods every day in cardboard boxes. It’s a free resource and it will reduce on what we have to pack down into our wheelie bins. Double win.
- If we have to use glitter (and this has been my biggest faux pas), then we need to use something that is either biodegradable/edible or use an adhesive that holds all the glitter in place on the item so no bits end up in our river & streams and finally into the sea.
- Stop cling-filming glass. It invariably ends up on site smashed within the cling film… It does not protect it… It IS single use plastic.. Keep the cardboard box it was bought in and label it clearly. Send it on the event like that. If it needs a dust wipe it over when you use it.
- Absolutely no plastic straws. These should be well gone already. There are paper, bamboo & metal alternatives. No question.
- Say no to the guests wanting their mini dessert in a dispo plastic bowl from Plastico with a mini plastic spoon (sorry plastico we know you are trying make to changes too.)* There are now so many beautiful reusable small bowls and cutlery around this should no longer be an option.
- Don’t buy bubble wrap. It’s that simple cardboard & newspaper should and will replace it if it is not there to use carelessly.
I say quick fixes because we have so far to go. However imagine if we ALL start with this.
I don’t believe replacing items with corn starch is the answer either. Imagine how much land we will have to start destroying to produce enough corn to make the starch. Sadly we have to change our throw away nature and simply wash and reuse. See how much better it looks.
2019 is going to see changes in what we serve and we are going to go back to nature a bit more with design & materials.
*I watched a short film by Plastico who have suggested they will start collecting glasses up from festivals and events and re using them. Ok but they may have forgotten about the range of other events that we put on every day of the week.