Indy VegFest recently held its inaugural vegan food and lifestyle festival at the Pavilion at Pan Am Plaza on April 29, 2017. I served as a sponsor of the event and headed up the festival’s zero waste program.
The organizers of Indy VegFest were a joy to work with and were totally committed to sustainability from the very beginning. Early on we determined that the primary sustainability focus of VegFest 2017 would be waste diversion, with the goal of becoming a zero waste event.
As anyone who has attended a food festival knows, having multiple vendors at one location lends itself to disposable servingware and therefore a high volume of trash. Indy VegFest was committed to diverting these disposable items away from the landfill as much as possible. I helped VegFest coordinate with vendors to use compostable and recyclable materials wherever possible. I was so moved by the willingness of vendors to participate and their sincere desire to make the event more sustainable. Indiana’s vegan food scene has serious sustainability chops!
At the festival, “zero waste stations” were placed around the venue. Each station contained a recycling bin, a compost bin and a trash bin, each labeled with signage to help guide attendees in sorting their waste. Volunteers monitored the bins throughout the event and corrected mis-sorted items as needed. The volunteer team was truly outstanding, and their hard work was pivotal in making the zero waste program a success.
VegFest drew an incredible 4,500 attendees, vegan and omnivore alike. The zero waste program held up to the crowds and successfully diverted 80% of the festival’s solid waste from the landfill. 80% of the solid waste generated by the event was recycled or composted, with only 20% of waste being disposed of as trash.
Congratulations to Indy VegFest on a phenomenal first-year event and on a successful waste diversion program!