Since 2009, The Wine & Food Festival made a strong move towards recycling. In 2008 we had 600 attendees and over 8 cubic yards (almost 3 dumpsters full) of trash that went to the dump. In 2010 we had close to 700 attendees but we generated less than 5 gallons of trash! We were able to achieve these remarkable results because as a committee, we made it a priority to reduce our waste.

Each guest was asked to take their uneaten food and drink to our recycling station. These stations we manned by experienced recycling volunteers from the Center for Environmental Innovation They helped guests place their waste in the proper recycling container (photo) the solid food material was put into one container and the balance into another. Other material, like cardboard boxes and glass bottles were transported to recycling centers where it was processed. We washed the plates, cutlery and glasses that were left and they will be used for our 2014 event. In addition, prior to the event, we built a composting station (photo) at SD Botanic Garden for future use by the garden.

We passed out reusable tote bags to our guest as they left (photo) our fundraiser. The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Bill Dean, the committee chair, was pleased that we had such positive results and based on national recycling criteria, the 2009 & 2010 Wine Festivals were deemed “zero waste” events. These two festivals are one of the first zero waste fundraisers in San Diego county history. It is our hope is that other events, like ours, will mirror this earth-friendly move.