I’m sure that the one-day street festival took weeks of planning and organizing but what’s with all the trash?

As fun as it was to taste-test varieties of delicious New England and Manhattan concoctions at the 21st Saratoga Chowderfest, I walked away feeling guilty. Not because I ate too much but because of the volume of single-use plastic I used.

If the numbers are correct, 138,000+ plastic utensils and round 9-oz squat cups were tossed to the wind seconds after use. And, I literally mean seconds. Wait times averaged 10 minutes and samples amounted to 2-3 tablespoons.

Reusing the first spoon seemed logical but given the 40,0000 attendees – a status-quo that neglected to do the same – my efforts seemed pointless.

I don’t mean to put a chill on the event’s popularity, especially after a long, cold week of hibernation, but, that’s roughly a ton or more of plastic pollution that will never biodegrade.

Frustrating no less is the fact that this toxic detritus is pervasive at many food festivals. Chowderfest is nothing compared to the impact that larger, major festivals have on the environment.

In an effort to combat rampant single-use plastic here are my solutions:
1. Promoting BYO (bring your own) reusable containers.
2. Encourage compostable utensils
3. Sell eco-friendly saucer-and-spoon combinations at the event. Just slap the official Chowderfest logo on both and as an incentive, the buyer gets an extra ladle of soup and something to reuse at home.

Less landfill fodder and shorter queues, a win-win!

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