Winnipeg Folk Fest Reduces Waste with Reusable Mugs and Plates

The annual Winnipeg Folk Festival in Manitoba uses reusable plastic plates for all of its concession stands and for meals served to performers and volunteers backstage. A two dollar deposit is required when picking up a clean plate, which is returned when the used plate is brought back. These are the only plates available at the Folk Fest. Collectible, reusable Folk Fest mugs are sold each year for concession stands and backstage drinks. Each year's design is different, based on the Folk Fest theme for that year. Mugs are usually sold out before the end of the concert, and mugs from previous years are frequently seen as well. Only alcoholic beverages in the two "tavern" areas are not allowed to be served in the mugs.

This year (2001) the Folk Fest was attended by 41,000 patrons and 1,500 volunteers. Multiply that number by the quanitity of disposable plates and cups that would otherwise have been used on each day of the four-day festival, and the reduction in waste can easily be imagined.
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