How to be a more sustainable festival-goer

Published on 11 March 2020

Photo: Reusable plates and bowls by Green My Plate (credit: Pete Dillon)

Balance your fun with your footprint by making a few easy changes to your routine this Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

It’s no secret that events can be a minefield when it comes to sustainability. There’s the issue of single-use plastics, disposing of rubbish and food waste, what gets recycled and more. It’s an issue we take seriously at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Over the last three years we’ve worked on improving our diversion rate (the amount of waste diverted from landfill) by better sorting and collecting of rubbish, the materials we use at our events and educating our event-goers so all of us can make better choices. Last year we upped our diversion rate to 76 per cent and this year we want to do even better.

Our friends at Queen Victoria Market, the home of many festival events in 2020, are also serious about sustainability. Along with worm farms and recycling organic waste, the market went plastic-free in May 2019.

You can be part of the move towards more sustainable events by making a few small changes to how you enjoy our program at Queen Victoria Market this year. Let's do it!

1. Walk, ride or use public transport

Skip the stress (and cost) of parking in the city by making your way to Queen Victoria Market sans car. Three tram lines (19, 57, 59) run past the market on Elizabeth Street, while on the William Street side there’s route number 58. Connecting from Melbourne Central train station is easy – just take the Elizabeth Street exits and jump on one of the trams going up Elizabeth Street towards the market. Or you can walk: it’s only seven minutes from Melbourne Central.

Walking or riding from home is a great option, too, especially if you’re keen to work up an appetite in anticipation of everything you’ll be eating at The Big Spaghetti or one of our other events. There are plenty of bike racks in and around the market, and major bike lanes leading to the market run along Royal Parade and Victoria Street.

2. Do your bit to keep bowls out of landfill

Melbourne company Green My Plate is providing reusable bowls and plates for the majority of our events at Queen Victoria Market in 2020. Every item will be washed after use, contributing to Green My Plate's goal of keeping 50,000 items out of landfill in 2020. (That’s the equivalent of 250 wheelie bins of waste.) Green My Plate makes its items out of bamboo fibre and cornstarch, creating sturdy bowls and plates that are also better for the environment. Everything is washed at the event to the same strict standards as those of a restaurant or café, so you can be confident all items are clean and safe.

There are three easy steps to using Green My Plate:

  1. Head to your favourite food vendor. Your food will be served on a Green My Plate reusable bowl or plate
  2. Eat your fill of plant-based Middle Eastern goodness, hand-rolled pasta or delicious Sichuan staples.
  3. Place your reusable plate or bowl in the pink bins to be washed. (Scrape any food scraps into the green compost bin first to make the process even easier.)


3. Ditto on cups and glasses.

All our bars at the market will be using reusable cups too, with cups provided by Globelet and washed by the folks at Green My Plate. Reuse your cup throughout the day or pop it in a pink bin when you’re done so it can be washed.

4. Bring your own coffee cup, water bottle and cutlery

For everything else you might drink during the day – water, coffee, tea – bring your own vessel. Reusable coffee cups and your sleek steel water bottle are all welcome at the market, which is now plastic-free. And if you want to be really on the front foot, BYO cutlery. You’ll not only feel fancy when you’re eating but you’ll also be helping reduce the amount of single-use Biopak cutlery that’s going into compost.

5. Use the right bin

We’re living large with our waste-sorting this year – and we invite you to do the same. There are four bins to use, but they’re all colour-coded so it’s super easy to put the right thing in the right bin.

Green bin = food scraps

Pink bin = plates, bowls and glasses to be washed

Yellow bin = plastics, glass and cans

Red bin = everything else

There’ll be people from Green My Plate there to help, too. If you’re not sure what goes where, just ask them.

6. Bring a bag if you want to shop

Don’t forget that the home of MFWF this year, Queen Victoria Market, is also the city’s home of fresh food. Bring your own grocery bag with you because as soon as you see those late-season plums and tomatoes, you know you’re going to want to load up on things to take home. If you’re really going for it, you can also hire a trolley from Market Espresso on Queen Street. Forgot to bring a bag? Head to The Convenient Store in Queen Street to pick up an MFWF tote – the perfect size for a market haul – or find the market’s Visitor Hub on String Bean Alley, where they also sell reusable bags.

7. Don’t print your tickets

We can check all event tickets on your phone – there’s no need to use paper printing out your tickets.

There are lots of Melbourne Food & Wine Festival events happening at Queen Victoria Market (Queen St, Melbourne) between 20 and 29 March. Events range in price from free to $130, and are on sale now. Browse the full program.