12 Bags of Waste Saved From Landfill
Did you know that the day after each Green Marquee ecomarket event, the Green Marquee Crew are so passionate about recovering resources respectfully that they sift through all of the bags and bins of solid waste generated from the market?
Although the solid waste receptacles are marked with Recycle, Compost, and Landfill signs, it's not uncommon for people to place non-recyclable plastics in the Recycle bags, compostable plates and forks in the Landfill bags, or recyclables in the Compost bins.
You might wonder why this matters.
- Many single-use paper cups used for liquids or soft foods (such as ice cream) are often lined with a plastic film. These are not recyclable in Australia. The Ground Crew sifts through and plucks all of these non-recyclable cups from the Recycle bags and places them in the Landfill bag.
- Some “plastic” cups are labeled as “bioplastic.” Bioplastics can be made completely or partially from a biomass source like vegetable oils, cellulose, starches (ie, corn), acids, and alcohols. Bioplastics biodegrade quickly compared to petroleum-based plastics. Although the use of bioplastics is well-intentioned, not all bioplastics are compostable. So if the bioplastic brand is unknown to the Ground Crew they remove them from the Compost bin and place them in the Recycle bags. Why is this important? Studies have shown that when petroleum-based and non-biodegradable bioplastics are composted, they eventually break down into tiny micro- and nano-plastic particles. When this compost is then used as fertilizer on your garden, these microscopic plastic particles are taken up by your veggies – and can make their way into your food source…as well as into the worms and bugs that help compost these materials.
- And lastly, the compostable bowls are sometimes not sturdy enough individually to hold a liquid meal so the vendors may double them up (one inside the other) to make them more sturdy. However, before putting these into the compost pile, they need to be separated because 2 stacked bowls increases the time it takes for them to biodegrade. Additionally, doubling them up doubles the waste we’re creating. The Ground Crew separates these before returning them to the Compost bin.
So, after sifting through the 13 bags and bins used to collect solid waste at this month's ecomarket, our passionate Green Marquee Crew were able to recover the majority of the solid waste generated by the event...leading to only 1 bag going to landfill!!
Thank you Sam and Claire for your amazing Green Marquee events! And thank you Katrina and Finn for your passion and leadership in managing these valuable resources and educating the rest of us about new ways to prevent unnecessary waste – a big shout out also to Adrian and Alissa for coming down Sunday morning and helping sort, recover, and share the experience!