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 and we’d love to have your help.