(Wikimedia Commons)

Surrey says no plastic straws, cutlery allowed at Fusion Festival this year

Surrey previously banned Styrofoam for Fusion Fest vendors, but now, all food-serving products must be biodegradable

If you’re looking for plastic straws or cutlery at Surrey’s annual Fusion Festival this summer, you won’t find any.

The festival went Styrofoam-free in 2014, but now, the City of Surrey is banning its vendors from handing out anything that isn’t biodegradable.

Instead of plastic, the city has decided plant-based straws and wooden cutlery are to be used at the festival, set for July 21-22 at Holland Park.

“This is the first of the first,” said Surrey Councillor Mike Starchuk, who chairs the city’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee. “We’ll ask vendors when doing food sales, they have to have either compostable or recyclable food items so nothing they serve for anybody that’s there needs to end up in a landfill.”

See also: Walk Off the Earth to headline 2018 Surrey Fusion Festival in July

Related story: Eight years in, Surrey Fusion Festival brings multicultural party to Holland Park, from 2016

homelessphoto

Starchuk said the initiative was “met with open arms” by Fusion Fest vendors this year.

“There was an appetite amongst the group that was there,” he chuckled.

Starchuk noted it could be a bit more complex to institute the same rules for other events, like the upcoming Canada Day event at Cloverdale Fairgrounds this Sunday, because private food trucks are invited to attend.

“I know they have agreements in place as to styrofoam and other things are there, but because of how the food truck industry purchases their stuff, I’d be willing to say most of their supplies would already be purchased ahead of time,” he noted.

With Fusion Festival, the city works with vendors much more, so the switch was a bit easier, he noted.

But Starchuk hopes the city’s annual Christmas Tree-Lighting Festival this winter, and next year’s Party for the Planet will follow in Fustion Festival’s no-plastic footsteps.

“It’s just part of the evolution,” he said.

And, the city is taking their sustainability efforts one step further.

The organic material from Fusion Festival, as part of the City of Surrey organics program, will be processed into 100 per cent renewable natural gas (RNG) at the new Surrey Biofuel Facility—the first fully integrated closed-loop waste-to-energy system of its kind in North America.

RNG produced at the facility will then be used to fuel the city’s fleet of natural gas powered waste collection and operations service vehicles, with excess feeding the city’s environmentally sustainable District Energy System, a city release notes.

See also: VIDEO: Surrey brothers work toward a ‘Foam-Free Vaisakhi’

See also: New ‘Play Surrey’ contest for musicians to perform at Canada Day, Fusion Festival events

The plastic-free initiative is connected to a similar effort at this year’s Surrey Vaisakhi Parade, where two brothers launched a program urging vendors to go “foam free.”

“We want to make a big change,” said Baljit Singh Sabharwal at the time, noting the Styrofoam used to serve an estimated 30,000 people at the first parade in 1981 is still sitting in the landfill today – and will remain there for generations.

In that effort, vendors were urged to shift to sugarcane products.

Starchuk was a big support of their efforts this year, and it was their work that inspired him to bring the idea for Fusion Festival to Surrey staff.

“If you’ve got stock in a polystyrene company, I’d consider selling them now,” Starchuk said. “I think the world is right on that tipping point, we’re so close. That other option just makes so much more sense, and the price point is getting so close.”

In a release, Mayor Linda Hepner said “implementing important sustainable initiatives like these is key to successfully achieving the vision, goals and desired outcomes outlined in our Sustainability Charter.

“We are proud to announce the inclusion of biodegradable straws and cutlery at the Surrey Fusion Festival,” she added, “which has become such a popular destination for enjoying delicious food and experiencing culture from around the globe.”

The annual event Fustion Festival features 50 cultural pavilions, and is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors this year.

More details are posted at surreyfusionfestival.ca.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

City of Surrey says pension benefits ‘guaranteed’ for police recruits

A National Police Federation representative says it may not be enough incentive

Surrey-area teens will have a ball at Christmas, thanks to collection effort

Realty company’s Bring on the Balls campaign now in its third year

Surrey groups receive funding for training support for people 55-plus

PICS getting $728K to help 120 people over two years

City ready for ride-hailing, says Delta mayor

The city has set up business licence fees for ride-hailing on par with what taxis in Delta pay

‘No updates’ on five-year anniversary of South Surrey teen’s violent death

15-year-old Dario Bartoli died early Dec. 13, 2014 after being attacked in park

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Planning price tag for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford revealed

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

1,300-signature petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

‘Go with the flow’ campaign calls for all University of the Fraser Valley bathrooms to be stocked

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read