An Especially Green Holiday Celebration

Were you at the Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party? If so, you probably enjoyed savory sides, delectable desserts, and a few holiday spirits! With over 1,500 attendees, that equals a lot of trash!

But not to worry, if the spirits didn’t get in the way of your keen observation skills, you may have noticed one of the large signs that read “ZERO WASTE CITY PARK,” cluing you in to our exciting efforts to make this a sustainable celebration by minimizing event waste sent to the landfill.

And we think it was a smashing success!

With all numbers in, we are proud to announce that, in our first year of going Zero Waste at the Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party, we achieved a diversion rate of 81%. That means that we kept 3138 pounds of the event waste out of a landfill and, instead, gave it a new life!

I know what you’re thinking: But what about all of the plates, forks, cups, napkins, and food that I threw into the garbage cans?

Surprise! Almost all of the trash cans around the event were lined with biodegradable bags. Food was served on biodegradable plates and bowls made from sugarcane bagasse, alongside biodegradable forks and spoons made from fermented corn starch. And although your beverage cups looked plastic, they, too, are made from renewable plant starches.

So at the end of the beautiful evening, 1632 pounds of event waste was sent to The Composting Network to be turned into soil and reused in gardens and landscapes across the City – maybe even making its way back to our garden beds in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. A pretty cool, sustainable cycle, if you ask us.

And while the food and beverage represented a significant portion of the event’s waste, we also had to consider other waste streams, including materials exiting the bars – plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and lots of glass – to ensure the greatest waste diversion rate. By working closely with our bartenders, we were able to collect 324 pounds of mixed plastic and aluminum and 1,182 pounds of glass for recycling!

There were, of course, a few odd items that ended up in the trash, but overall we are very pleased with the results. So thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party and contributed to a very sustainable holiday celebration. We look forward to seeing you next year, as we attempt to keep even more waste out of the landfill!