Introducing Jonathan Hart - founder of Down To Earth Events
In 2011, almost a year after Jonathan and Tina Hart started Eco Party Box (ecopartybox.com.au), a store dedicated to Partying Sustainably! the idea to make small, medium and large events sustainable emerged.
This idea was to provide compostable tableware in bulk at wholesale prices to food and drink vendors at events, while also working with event organisers to collect the tableware once used and then disposing of it in commercial composting facilities.
It was clear that while most mainstream parties were filled with disposable plastic and dreadful for the environment - the same was also happening for larger public events.
So Eco Party Box provided these services free of charge to some local events but one of the problems was getting people to dispose of their waste in the right bin stream.
A lack of education about this service and compostable products in the marketplace meant people would contaminate the green waste bin with plastic packaging, and throw the compostable packaging into the general waste bin.
The other issues in making it a commercial production were that the small, medium and large local event organisers we approached didn't recognise the following:
- the value in their event being seen as an environmentally-friendly;
- too hard or risky encouraging all their food and drink vendors to commit to purchasing only compostable tableware due to the added expenses;
- the relatively small costs to provide the services needed to turn it into a "Down To Earth Event" were perceived as obtrusive.
So the idea was left on the backburner.
Focusing on providing quality customer service with Eco Party Box while growing a young family grew up.
Now that all are in school and with the War On Waste TV Show creating a far greater awareness of the population's affect on the environment - local event organisers as well as food and drink vendors are seemingly more willing to bear the extra costs involved with creating sustainable events.
So with that in mind we approached our local Onkaparinga Council for a grant to create more than 36 bin covers for the compostable, recyclable and landfill waste streams. In 2018 we were awarded $3000 to make it happen!
Knowing from experience that the main obstacles to making an event sustainable are:
- educating the public to know which rubbish goes into which bin;
- providing correctly marked bin covers clearly indicating which waste goes in which bin;
- offering a team of enthusiastic and fun staff to help educate people to which bin their waste goes into.
Down To Earth Events waste service operates locally in South Australia. It additionally offers public speaking and workshops for small to large event organisers as well as leaders within schools and professional organisations, showing you the systems required to adopt successful waste free programs. These are often required to be delivered on a budget.