NAME OF BEST PRACTICE:
Contact Person: CINZIA VUOTO
Institution address: COMUNE di CREMONA Piazza del Comune 26100 Cremona
WHERE: Cremona, Italy
WHEN: since 2017
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: prevention
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising and Regulatory / normative
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste, Packaging waste, Plastics, Paper
About: Within the project Ecofeste, The Municipality has adopted a “Decalogue of good practices” that will be the reference point for the event organizers. The Council approved the Guidelines for Ecofeste with the intent to promote virtuous behaviour during public events so as to obtain a reduction in the amount of waste produced. This initiative is also part of the activities to improve and enhance separate waste collection. Events and festivals, especially those that attract a lot of public, are intended as a vehicle to promote the environmental culture of the participants and a virtuous example of correct eco-sustainable behavior. Thanks to the new methods it will also be possible to trace the quantities of waste produced and the correct use of the distributed containers.
The guidelines of Ecofeste identify some measures for waste reduction such as the use of washable and reusable crockery and cutlery or alternatively plates and glasses made of compostable material; the adoption of the returnable vacuum system or the carafes for drinks; the reduction of packaging waste with the purchase of products in larger and capacious packs; reducing the volume of waste, for example by stacking plates and glasses or by compressing plastic bottles and cans; the reduction of food waste through the provision of containers to take home food that is not consumed; the donation of unused food to non-profit associations.
Ecofeste is a regulatory measure that does not involve resources from the Municipality budget, it consists of a guidebook on the implementation of sustainable events, promoting a prevention tool on waste.
The project was launched in 2017, with 5 events organized that accounted for a total of 5 tons of waste collected, with and an average 69% of separate collection, as folows:
• Happening: 770,00 kg, 52%
• Agropolis: 103,30 kg, 68%
• Anffas grill: 226,10 kg, 88%
• Festa Arci: 1.339,40 kg, 87%
• Festa pd: 2.672,05 kg, 50%
Urban metabolism relevance
The practice is still in experimental phase but it is very important to promote the message that an event can be a means to promote and spread good practices of waste reduction and separate waste collection. The long term goal is to reduce the environmental impacts generated by the events. The objectives of the EcoFesta are to minimize environmental impact, guarantee the principles of environmental sustainability, reduce the use of non-renewable raw materials (use of cutlery, crockery made from recyclable materials), reduce packaging by purchasing local food products, draft drinks and drinking water in recyclable or refundable glasses, donating non-used products to NGOs, preparing containers for the separate collection of waste and use recycled paper for informative and promotional materials.
Engaged participatory processes
The participatory process involves the public administration, the company that manages the waste collection service, the event organizers, the local NGOs and the public attending the events. It is a joint effort to improve the current situation and to promote a sustainable event.
“The municipality of Cremona has been working on for about two years, on the project “Ecofeste”, a project that aims to promote a proper and environmentally sustainable management of waste during the festivals and events in public places or open to the public, for dissemination of good practices and waste reduction also in public events. A practice that, however, is struggling to take off mainly due to the still quite high cost of mater-bi items, or completely biodegradable bioplastics that exceeds 50% of disposable objects and the difficulty of finding such objects on the market. However, these difficulties do not restrain certain associations that manage to organize “plastic-free” events, with the distribution of public water and zero-kilometer food, often from local organic farming, with areas equipped with containers for separate waste collection.“ (Cinzia Vuoto, Comune di Cremona)
The municipality of Cremona has joined the Association “Italian-WHO Healthy Cities Network” , the network promotes the principles of equity in health sector and the sustainable development. Health is not just the absence of illness, but it is also well being, good quality of life and surrounding environment. This project promotes through public events: respect for the environment, attention to food, conscious participation, improving the state of health of one’s own city.
Sustainability and replicability
The practice is not new, it was implemented in other cities and countries, some examples can be found bellow:
– Going Green: 5 Best Practice Sustainable Events
– Zero waste cities
– Wrap UK Zero waste events road map
– Harvard University Zero Waste Event Guide
– The 10 best environmentally friendly festivals
– Green hospitality Programme Ireland
– Sustainable event management – a practical guide
– Sustainable events alliance
The most important aspect is related to the sustainability, although difficult to implement in the first year, after some time the population behaviors change. It is important to communicate with the public, to publish statistics on the quantities of recycled waste for different waste streams, to ask for their involvement in the implementation of activity.
Some success factors are worth mentioning:
– reducing the production of waste during public events,
– making waste disposal cheaper,
– Increase the quota of waste to composting plants and to treatment and recovery plants,
– Decrease the use of non-renewable raw materials by favouring renewable raw materials such as bioplastics,
– Promote the use of local and/or organic food
Ecofeste can be a movement to raise awareness among the people to spread the word on waste reduction and management practices. This why it is important to communicate to the participants the practices adopted by the Municipality, not only those directly concerning citizens, but also those related to the organization of the event, including vendors.