Many of you noticed our incredible Environment & Sustainability team at work in Oppenheimer Park during the 39th Powell Street Festival. These folks were on hand to help sort recycling, compost, and landfill — helping make PSF one of the most environmentally friendly festivals in the country! Powell Street Festival president Colin Chan talks more about our campaign and summarizes this year’s record-breaking efforts to reduce waste:

The Zero Waste campaign at the Powell Street Festival has been running for eight years! At PSF, Zero Waste means a continuous effort to reduce the amount of waste we produce and to divert what we do produce away from the landfill via compost or recycling.

Credit: Carly Yoshida-Butryn


As with all our initiatives, our Zero Waste campaign is truly a community collaboration:

  • We rely on our coordinators and volunteers to help festival attendees sort their waste into the proper bins.
  • We work closely with our food vendors to ensure everything they sell is either compostable or recyclable.
  • We work with Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver to provide free drinking water fountains to eliminate the need for bottled water sales at the festival.
Credit: Aki Mimoto

How’d we do?

This year, we also partnered with Green Chair Events, a local social enterprise focused on improving the sustainability of festivals around Metro Vancouver. And the results? In 2015, we were able to recycle or compost 99% of all our front-of-house waste gathered from our six Zero Waste stations placed around the festival grounds. This is a major accomplishment that speaks volumes of the efforts from all involved.


We’re not perfect…yet!

Our overall landfill waste diversion rate was 71%:

176 bags of garbage saved from the landfill!

However, that still means we produced 72 bags of garbage that did end up in the landfill, mostly from our back-of-house. If you’ve volunteered with us, you know how much focus and effort goes on behind the scenes to set up the site in a day, prepare food for 15,000 people over the weekend, and take down the site in just a few hours. With all the flurry of activity, it’s easy to accidentally put recyclable material in the garbage or vice-versa, but we know we can improve on that and increase  our landfill waste diversion rate next year!

All in all it was a great green success and something that we’re very proud of here at PSFS.

Want to help with our sustainability efforts at the Powell Street Festival? Please email info [@] and we’d love to have your help.