Making Melbourne Food and Wine Festival more sustainable

While outdoor events are a highlight of summer, the waste they can generate needs to be managed properly to keep the environmental footprint as small as possible.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is conscious of the sustainability of our events and, together with City of Melbourne, we’re working on making River Graze a greener event. Since 2018, we’ve worked with City of Melbourne and Closed Loop to cut down waste from the three-day event. In 2018, close to 1,000 litres of waste was composted from front and back of house, and there was an area set up to teach festival-goers how to compost both at home and at work. Here are a handful of ways we’ll be working to make the event more sustainable in 2019.

Recyclable packaging

All food outlets at River Graze will be using recyclable plastic packaging, helping ensure that single-use, non-recyclable packaging becomes a thing of the past. Packaging that’s marked as compostable or biodegradable including bamboo, won’t be used at the event to ensure that all packaging waste is recyclable. The Festival works with stallholders to advise them on sourcing recyclable packaging and encourages them to use recyclable packaging in their businesses in future.

Sorting rubbish

We work with Closed Loop to sort all event rubbish into recycling and general waste. All bars at River Graze use Biopak cups, which are collected in separate bins that display pictures of the cups so it’s easy for patrons to put their cups in the right bin. And to top it off, all of the plastic tasting cups used at City Cellar will be collected in separate bins so they can be washed and reused in future.

Educating people

Closed Loop is back again, running a stall to teach people where collected waste goes, whether that’s being transformed into coffee cups or another recycled product. Volunteers will be on-hand to chat to people about the Closed Loop system and answer any questions about the event, plus there’ll be signage around the site that promotes recycling and proper waste management.

Elsewhere, workshops in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation presented by The Herald Sun will teach children about growing and cooking their own food, helping to cut down their food waste in the process.

River Graze supported by City of Melbourne, Southbank Promenade, Melbourne, Friday 22 March 4pm-9pm, Saturday 23 March noon-9pm, Sunday 24 March noon-8pm.Entry is free.