Over the last four weeks in this column, I have given example after example of cases where the ‘eco’ choice is also the thrifty choice. I even went so far as to claim that most of the time the environmental-friendly choice is the thriftiest choice. I did not say all of the time, because there are instances where the more sustainable purchase decisions can be more costly, such as buying organic food or photovoltaic (solar electric) panels.
I thought this was also the case with ‘green’ packaging and biodegradable table wear. But my newest heroes at the New Zealand Masters’ Games have proven me wrong – or at least open to new learning. The entire team at NZMG have fully embraced going ‘Zero Waste’ for this year’s event at the Springvale Park Games Village, but the super-est of my new heroes is Simon Watson. Not only is Simon a surfer – chur, bro – but he has put in hours of research into sustainable purchasing – often called pre-cycling – for the ‘disposable’ table wear, cups, and glasses to be used at the event.
Mike Cronin, Games Director, said he was bracing himself for the quote to come in for the eco-products because he, like me, thought it would come in significantly higher than the standard landfill disposable fare. But much to his surprise, and mine, the quote came in significantly lower! Yes, even in this case of buying eco-products instead of bog standard plastic disposables, the eco choice can be a thrifty choice.
Before handing it over to Simon, I’ll invite any and all event organizers in Wanganui to contact me about making their event ‘Zero Waste’ with the help of Hadi Gurton and me. Now, over to Simon.
When I first began researching what was available in terms of recyclable and biodegradable products I was surprised at the wide range of catering items that fit the Zero Waste program. In the end we (New Zealand Masters Games) decided to go with a local company, Edengreenz Enterprises, and the biodegradable products they are able to provide because they were very cost comparable with recyclable plastic and we could source 17 of the 20 food and beverage items we need to serve our food and beverage. In total we will have at least 30,900 biodegradable items go through the NZCT Games Village and hopefully this will spark some interesting conversations about how it is possible that in just a few weeks they could be growing their winter crop of vegetables in compost made up from the cups and plates they were using at the New Zealand Masters Games.
Here at the New Zealand Masters Games we a very passionate about our community and by endeavoring to reduce the footprint left behind by Wanganui’s largest event and New Zealand’s largest multisport event we want to show our local sports clubs and other local events that they too can do their bit for Wanganui by thinking carefully about the items used and how they dispose of them. It costs no more to use these items and although it requires the use of volunteer labor in sorting the material we believe it is a very cost effective way to “go green”. The whole process has been a great learning curve and we are very pleased with what we are going to be able to deliver to our village guests and look forward to showing how our food and beverage doesn’t “cost the earth”.