Waste Recycling at the Festival

The Abergavenny Food Festival is rightly proud of its environmental track record.  It encourages Festival goers to arrive by public transport, looks to showcase locally produced food and reduces its waste as far as possible.  Recycling bins for bottles and cans are a standard feature of the Festival and since 2009 food waste has also been collected for composting.  However, Festival organisers are aware that avoiding waste in the first place is even better than recycling it and strive to reduce the amount produced at the event.

Traders started playing their part in 2009 when the Castle was designated a Zero Waste Zone and an effort made to ensure all the zone’s waste was either recyclable or compostable.  Bamboo bowls and paper plates replaced polystyrene trays and drinks were served in plastic or paper cups.  The initiative was greeted so positively by traders and festival-goers that the Zero Waste idea was extended across the whole Festival the next year.

Traders and stall-holders embraced the idea with enthusiasm.
•    Tea was served in vintage china cups which were washed and reused.
•     “Love Your Left-overs” plastic storage containers were handed out so festival-goers whose eyes were bigger than their stomachs could save the rest to enjoy later.
•    Small bags and caddies appeared on stalls to collect the toothpicks and cups samples were served in for recycling – giving the phrase “wood recycling point” a whole new meaning.
•    Glass bottles and plastic milk bottles were popped in the recycling banks rather than binned
•    Cardboard was flattened and left out for collection by the recycling team or taken around to Recycling HQ in Brewery Yard.

The AFF Team appreciates all those efforts and plan to build on them at this year’s Festival.  Local firm Maximum Recycling will again be running the recycling, litter-picking and waste collection services at the Festival.  Trader Recycling Points (TRPs) are being introduced to complement the banks of recycling bins dotted around the Festival.  These TRPs will be used to collect cardboard and sacks of bottles, cans and foodwaste generated at the back stalls.  Starch sacks for food waste and clear plastic bags for plastic bottles and cans will be available for stall-holders and special collections can be arranged for those generating a lot of any particular type of recycling such as glass.

In addition, traders are asked to take the following steps to help minimise the Festival’s waste:
•    Where possible, use reusable trays and crates to transport merchandise to the Festival.
•    Use recyclable cardboard boxes to transport merchandise to site.
•    Serve food in compostable/recyclable containers.  See the inset box for a list of suppliers.
•    Do NOT serve drinks in compostable cups, as these confuse the public and are often put in the plastics recycling bins.  Plastics contaminated with the starch cups can not be recycled.
•    If serving samples, provide a recycling point at front of stall – ie. for toothpicks (compostable!) or plastic sample cups (recyclable).
•    Use the recycling bins dotted around the Festival to recycle small amounts of segregated waste.  These bins are being regularly checked and emptied throughout the Festival.
•    Use the nearest Trader Recycling Point for cardboard and larger amounts of recycling.  Again, these will be serviced regularly by Maximum Recycling staff.

Working together, we aim to make this the greenest, lowest-impact Food Festival ever!

Compostable Catering Supplies:

There are a number of companies selling compostable cutlery, dishes and cups.
Two examples are:
Avoid products described as “degradable” or “biodegradeable” as they are often plastic designed to break up in to tiny pieces.  Truly compostable products are made of plant-based materials like wood, paper or bamboo.

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