July 15, 2014 6:18 pm
Updated: July 16, 2014 6:30 am

Annual festival generates waste along Saskatoon’s riverbank

Watch above: is there a way to reduce waste at Taste of Saskatchewan?

SASKATOON – The 19th annual Taste of Saskatchewan kicked off Tuesday in Saskatoon.

Thirty restaurants have set up shop in Kiwanis Park for the event, each serving a choice of three items. Taste buds will be tantalized by everything from pork ribs and poutine to fried alligator and deep fried pickles.

One of Saskatoon’s largest summer festival will fill stomachs and garbage bins alike.

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About 100,000 to 150,000 attend the summer sampler each year purchasing 250,000 menu items in total.

The site is accompanied by two massive garbage bins and a single recycling bin. Each bin holds 30 yards of waste. The event generates enough garbage to require that all bins be emptied daily.

According to organizer Scott Ford, the vendors are encouraged to use compostable materials rather than styrofoam or plastic.

“We’re at about 70 per cent compliance,” said Ford.

The green team also assists in the effort, consisting of a group of 12 people from the Saskatoon roller derby league.

The women remove garbage bags from containers and sift through the waste for recyclables.

On June 19, the City of Saskatoon hosted its annual civic pancake breakfast. It’s one of the city’s most environmentally friendly events.

In 2014, 1,133 breakfasts were served generating just 14 kilograms of waste. Meanwhile 300 kilograms of plates, napkins, stir sticks and coffee grounds were composted.

According to the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC), Taste of Saskatchewan faces unique challenges.

“Because you’re going to each vendor and each vendor is giving you something to hold the food in,” explains Joanne Fedyk with SWRC.

SWRC recommends being a green patron instead. This includes bringing your own beverage in a reusable bottle, refusing utensils you don’t need and handing back excess napkins that accompany meals unnecessarily.

Edmonton’s Folk Fest and Vancouver’s Folk Music Festival both charge customers two dollars for a plate. Visitors wash the plates at a wash station and are reimbursed when it is returned to a plate booth.

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