One of the sustainable event management practices is aiming for zero waste. We know absolute zero is impossible but aiming for a high percentage of diversion from landfill is optimal.
In 2016 our local Southern Beaches Community Garden partnered with us to provide processing and composting for our compostable catering products from the Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge event. The wonderful team at the gardens have been participating at the event each year at our invitation with free stall space and providing free advice & plants for the welcoming attendees.
According to most sources of information compostable catering materials including PLA, sugarcane, cardboard, bamboo etc. can only be properly broken down in an industrial composter. These materials are always preferable to single use plastic but the ideal system is to utilise reusables.
But what happens if you don’t have the availability of an industrial composter? Well we approached our local community garden with the idea of scientifically researching the issue and the results were very surprising.
It’s all in the sorting…with meticulous hand picking through each bin to divert the waste streams to their correct categories will allow for clean compost. The bins were delivered to the garden and the compostables were put through a simple old branch grinder/shredder which only broke down the material into rough pieces. This was then spread in layers adding green waste over a 2 metre. sq. compost wooden stall and watered to gain the correct consistency.
Each wooden stall which there are 6 of were moved down the line each week and here’s the surprising thing that after only 4 moves the compostable materials were close to complete disintegration.
Were we just lucky to have the optimal temperature or was the Southern Beaches Community Garden compost guru so in his element that he tuned it perfectly?
Well we would like to try it again and are keen to hear from community gardens that would be interested in assisting more research.
If you have have done your own research and would like to share, please contact us 🙂