Food and Beverage Vendors
For some reason, when there are food and beverages at an event the event is just better and more successful, and as concert-goers are becoming more educated on environmental and sustainability issues, they come to events with an expectation of broader selections, including healthier, organic options. In this Section, we will cover guidelines that will be beneficial to both house party event hosts and vendors who are supporting larger events.You want to begin to think about where the food for your event will come from. You can source food from many places: donations, caterer, potluck, local, vendors, etc... If you do bring food into your event, you want to consider purchasing locally. The transportation of food to a site adds to the negative environmental impact of an event.
- It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate. That’s crazy! Where will your food come from? Support the local farmers and vendors in your community and aim to be able to name where all the food on your plate came from. As the “buy local” food campaign continues to take hold, more food suppliers will exist in each locale.
Reusable service ware should be implemented wherever possible, and biodegradable products are a good alternative if your waste reduction plan includes composting. Biodegradable service ware can be made from compostable materials including corn-starch based PLA (poly-lactic acid) products, wheat based products, bagasse (paper product made from pulped sugar cane), or potato-starch based products. These materials can be added to food waste and turned into valuable compost.
- In certain venues, Live Earth supplied food vendors with biodegradable plastic cups and utensils. The cost was offset with sponsorship money, and these cups were collected with food waste and turned into valuable compost, which was donated to community gardens.
When you can, try to replace individual sized packets with bulk containers. Additionally, the vendors should be requested to minimize all packaging materials on all food products. Ex. The vendors can use buffet style techniques rather than individual servings.Offer the audience an eco-incentive to purchase and reuse their cups by charging a one-time fee and then provide refills at a discount. Reusable containers are a wonderful solution to waste while providing individuals with a keepsake from the concert.
- Another option is to allow concert-goers to bring in their own cups, and it is becoming common at music festivals for organizers to provide “water refill stations” where concert-goers can receive free water refills with their own containers.
Volunteers are a great way to ensure success with recycling at the venue. You want to appoint at least one volunteer as recycling manager or coordinator for each section of the venue, and at least one group of volunteers should be recruited and trained per recycling station. Depending on the size of your event, be sure enough volunteers are available to change shifts throughout the show (you may also want to have some additional volunteers which are useful for troubleshooting during the event).Any leftover food should be donated or be taken home by the guests whenever possible. This reduces the amount of waste created during and after the event and is also an important part of social responsibility.The venue and food/beverage provider should implement or participate in a behind-the-scenes recycling program that collects everything the local recycling facilities can accept (i.e. paper, glass, plastics, aluminum, collapsed boxes, and kitchen grease).
- Messages can be used to engage audience members in your waste reduction plan and facilitate recycling and composting. These messages should be in highly visible areas at each recycling facility, near concessionaires, and on-stage screens between acts.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE CHECKLIST
- Start to think about where the food will come from
- How will the foods and beverages get to the event?
- How will the food and beverages be served?
- Give estimation of expected guests to the food services, contributors and/or host
- Follow up with food and beverage providers with time and location -- How many people can the site hold?
- Help set up and use volunteers
- Donate leftovers and/or put into compost and recycling bins
- Thank the contributors