On August 23 and 24, 2014, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation celebrated their 28th Annual Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering. This sacred event included dance and drumming competitions, walking tours, traditional teaching circles, a children’s corner and many vendors. All that celebrating generated about 2 tonnes of waste from the 2,000 plus attendees.
Understanding the potential environmental impact of the event, the event planning committee for the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation’s gathering worked with Walker Environmental Group to understand the types of waste that would be generated and developed a strategy to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill. A “Green Team,” which consisted of both community members and our employees, was established for the event. The role of the Green Team was to help educate vendors and attendees about waste diversion and to ensure waste was separated so that it could be easily recycled. With the help of Davidson Environmental, green and blue bins were provided at the event to divert organic waste and beverage containers. We also provided containers to food vendors to collect used cooking oil. The Green Team encouraged participants to bring their own utensils and water bottles to reduce the amount of waste produced. Food vendors were encouraged to use recyclable or compostable plates, cups and cutlery.
Organics collected from the event were used to create compost, which circled back to create nutrients for the earth. Collected food and beverage containers were used as resources to create new containers and products. The used cooking oil gathered from food vendors was directed to a biodiesel facility to create renewable energy.
Approximately 48% of the waste from the Pow Wow was diverted from the landfill.The lessons learned will be applied to make the 2015 Pow Wow even more supportive of the environment.