Most people know the 3 R’s of the waste reduction hierarchy - Reduce first, then Reuse as much as possible, then Recycle what is left over.
In fact, According to the US EPA:
“Source reduction or waste prevention, which includes reuse, is the best approach”
To those ends, Waste Busters is bringing to Symbiosis our new project, Sud Busters, a lively bunch of waste reduction super stars who will be bringing reusable food service ware and washing it for you throughout the event to eliminate disposables and the environmental impact of these waste products, up and down stream.
Think about the environmental impacts created where these materials are extracted - virgin forests cut down and offshore oil tapped to make a disposable coffee cup, which is chemically pulped, processed and bleached, packaged and repackaged, transported around the country only to be used for a few short minutes. It takes energy, materials, green house gas emissions, water pollution and particulate air pollution to make and deliver us these seemingly convenient products.
How did we get to a point where all that effort, cutting big trees and building off shore oil wells and refineries, processing these materials to make products that we use once only to have others collect and process for recycling or landfilling, is considered easier than simply washing plates and cups?
So Waste Busters scaled up a standard dish washing system, common to any restaurant, for large events to create an opportunity for people to gather at a remote festival and still be able to enjoy a waste-free experience. We hope you like it and help us to get all of our dishes back! Thank You
Q: Is that safe and sanitary? A: Yes! We are health department approved wherever we go. We take safety seriously and make sure we only distribute clean, sanitized and dry dishes for use.
Q: What about all that water use? Doing dishes seems like a waste of water.
A: We are very concerned about our Water Foot Print and strive to reduce water waste, pollution and inefficient management systems. Although we currently cannot afford to run a good LCA study, here is some food for thought: Many disposable products are made of plastic (primarily from oil) and/or have a high virgin paper fiber content. Forestry and paper pulp processing use and pollute incredible amounts of water upstream.
The Oil Refining Industry is the largest industrial water usage sector in the United States, using over one billion gallons per day. According to the US Department of Energy, refineries can require up to 2.5 gallons of water for every gallon of gas produced (USDOE, 2006).
Forestry is also a major water user, with pollution from chemical pulping and processing wood from forests into paper (The EPA doesn’t collect water use data by industrial sector).
Q: These stainless steel spoons obviously have more material than disposables. How many times do you need to wash one of your plates or cups for you to “break even” with the impacts of using disposables?