Yesterday's images of a UGA tailgate party were troubling, and a demonstration of what happens when everything is disposable. If you have no producer responsibility and no personal responsibility, you get a big mess.
It doesn't have to be this way; Vert Catering, a green Toronto firm, figured it out. They take full producer responsibility and take back their own garbage.
I tried them out for a meeting a couple of weeks ago; all of their food is organic or local, bought at farmers markets and local suppliers. All tableware is biodegradable non-pulp based. They offer a "bike deli" where they deliver their food by this 1926 Pashley bakers bike. I interviewed them about it, on a noisy street:
Chef Pedro Dos Santos and Marilyn Simms put together a wonderful meal, delivered it in an old biodiesel powered Mercedes, served it up on bamboo platters.
But what really surprised me was that after the meal, they came back and took away all of the plates and cutlery as well as their platters. They can then ensure that it all goes to the right place for composting or recycling. Had they just left it, no doubt it would have gone either into the garbage or into the wrong recycling bin.
At some point people are going to realize that there has to be producer responsibility, that we cannot keep shifting the responsibility for dealing with waste to the public and the taxpayer. That we can't just keep throwing stuff on the ground and having someone else pick it up. Vert Catering did it right, from start to finish. More at Vert