Saturday, July 5, 2008

Waste at the Taste

The Taste of Chicago has to be one of the most wasteful festivals in the country.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's a great event for the most part. It's bunches of fun to spend an evening in downtown Chicago trying new and exotic foods, but almost EVERY dish available comes laden with packaging, most of it made of plastic. It's not environmentally friendly.

Case in point: I went over to the Taste yesterday with my sister and tried my hardest to avoid plastic, and I still failed.
I ended up with two plastic forks and a small styrofoam bowl.

How did it happen? For the forks, I told the servers that I didn't want them, but they were moving so fast that they forgot. For the bowl, I ordered a dish I was unfamiliar with and found out too late that it was being served in styrofoam. Darnit.

Anyways, I want the Taste organizers to start thinking of more eco-friendly ways to distribute fast food and then I want them to encourage participating restaurants to use them.

Afterall, Mayor Daley has made it a priority to turn Chicago into a "green" city. A less wasteful Taste of Chicago would be an important step in getting there.

9 comments:

ThreadBeaur said...

I agree, the taste of chicago, could be more green. They should have some incentive to get the participants going green. Maybe they would start to try be more green than the next vendor! Then we all win!

Robj98168 said...

we have the bite of seattle here, and i think it is awful wasteful- even though a few of the restaurants in the bite do use paper cups instead of styrofoam bowls- I would just like to see paper plate and cup recycling done at the bite since it is the norm for seattle(Yard waste bins here go to make compost)

The Minimalist said...

This reminds me of when I went to Las Vegas back in March! I tried so hard not to make garbage, but it was all stacked against me! I still think expecting consumers to work against this stream of garbage is an uphill battle! We need the ones serving it up to change. Right on!

About Jo said...

In Germany, they often use real glasses or mugs, for which you pay a deposit of 2 euros or so. You get it back when you return the glass. Though often it has some kind of printing or picture on it and then you have a cool souvenir of the festival. For plates and bowls, they use a product made of corn I believe. My kids have actually eaten this, just to see what it tastes like. Totally biodegradable. Recycling is huge over here and the US could learn a few things to improve the situation. Small example: mustard, mayo, etc. comes in aluminum tubes. Less waste and totally recyclable. Every apt. and house has paper bins, plastic bins, organic compost bins and "the rest" bins. Amazing how much can be separated in a week.

Hausfrau said...

So glad I found your site! I have been trying to use less plastic but haven't made much headway. Can't wait to read your tips.

Have you tried taking to-go containers with you to events like these or to restaurants? If so what reaction have you had? It occurred to me to try, but haven't done it yet.

OTOH I also agree with the minimalist - change needs to occur with the organizers of these events as well.

Going Crunchy said...

Oh man, I hate to the the naysayer....but I've never wanted to go to the Taste. I've seen the pictures and just get a little sickly looking at them.

It all (and this is just IMHO) seems to focus on excessive eating to the point of pigging out, and tons of junk and fatty food. Ever picture I see from it just makes me feel a little squeamish.

But hey, I'll catch you at the Blues festival anytime!!!!

Debbi Mack said...

I just started reading your blog and really like it.

I don't live in Chicago, but I go to a lot of networking events and conferences, and I see SO much waste in terms of plastic cups, utensils and (the now-unfashionable) bottled water.

I got so disgusted, I wrote a column for my Web site about doing business in a "greener" way. If you'd like to read it, it's at http://www.debbimack.com/jan08.html

aoitsuki said...

it would probably be easier if you carried your own utensils all day. plus the distributers would save a lot of money, so everyone's happy :)

Jon R said...

taking your own utensils is a great idea, but might be considered a security risk, carrying a knife and fork around in your pocket. I used to always carry a folding 'swiss army' knife, but had to stop when i was searched and questioned so many times going into night clubs, and bars.