Jun 7 2013

Food Waste at Hay Festival

Nicola and I had a fantastic day last week volunteering with the Cwm Harry Land Trust (CHLT) at the Hay Festival.

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CHLT had the contract to deal with all the waste and recycling on the site, so we volunteered on a day that luckily changed from showery to sunny, on the Thursday.

We had a couple of jobs.  One was to go round the site and check the bins, seeing which ones were full and pulling out contamination there and then.  This meant that visitors to the site would come and ask us what should go where and gave us a chance to do a tiny bit of customer education.

The other job was round the back, in the part of the site that you don’t normally see.  Here, you could tell that there had been a couple of days of rain and that the festival site is effectively a field in Wales!  We were manually pulling contamination out of the food waste before it was sent off to a local processor.

The great thing about doing this sort of job is that it helps you to better plan front-end services.  For example, the contamination wasn’t often wilful, it was more down to a confusion about what is and isn’t compostable.  I personally think the biggest difference you can make to events where you have a specific space and time, is to limit that confusion by restricting the use on non-compostable products.

The other great thing about this particular job is that it was at the Hay Festival.  So I managed to hear an inspiring talk by Professor Colin Mayer from Said Business School, Oxford, about the role of corporations, have lunch with Professor Steve Evans from Cambridge who had just given a talk on skills for sustainability in Wales and end the day with Oliver James talking about psychopaths in the workplace!  More to be written about each of those I think!

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