RayDay Zero Food Waste Journey

On October 11 the Ray C. Anderson Foundation (RCAF) hosted the third annual RayDay in a lovely Serenbe country meadow. Over 1400 guests celebrated Ray’s legacy, learned at the plethora of educational booths, and enjoyed excellent cuisine served by The Food Movement (TFM) food trucks.

ideaLand was the RayDay event producer and Let Us Compost (LUC) was responsible for the on-site food-waste-composting operations.

For pre-event planning leading up to RayDay, along with annual event challenges and Ei Team members, visit the Zero Food Waste Journeys page.

Approximately 1200 pounds of food waste was source-separated for on-site composting at Serenbe. The first-time success was flawless due to collaboration by the necessary parties: RCAF, ideaLand, Serenbe, TFM, LUC and the Ei SMAT – Sustainable Materials ACTION Team.

TFM brought their prep food waste to RayDay to ensure the event was zero-food waste from start to finish. Any remaining food meeting the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was donated to Second Helpings.

Prior to the event start, Ken Fraser with Eco-Products visited the TFM trucks to educate on the compostable packaging provided for serving food. Ken printed signage for each truck to educate the guests on the compostable packaging.

Key to RayDay zero-food-waste success were the Waste Ambassadors. Contracted by ideaLand, the Waste Ambassadors monitored each tri-bin waste station to assist guests with separating items for disposal … and the plan worked! There was minimal contamination in the food waste | compostable packaging brought to the compost area. Per LUC the only contamination was two latex gloves worn by the Waste Ambassadors.

In addition, the Waste Ambassadors assisted with separating the compostable packaging for grinding prior to its compost pile destination. LUC brought a truckload of wood chips to use as a carbon source in the compost recipe. Hindsight proved Serenbe has ample woody debris from their everyday operations.

Ei Chair Scott Seydel enjoyed RayDay with family and friends. While at the event, Scott visited the compost operations and was thrilled with LUC’s education on zero food waste-in-action.

As documentation is essential to creating a replicable template, the ZWA Blog article, Simple, easy, proven steps culminate in zero food waste success, recaps the RayDay zero-food-waste success; the Ei FB album 2015 RayDay is a pictorial recount of the successful journey.

The following are several lessons learned at RayDay:

  1. Only grind the compostable forks for the pile; it is time-consuming and not necessary to grind the plates.
  2. Coordinate with event staff to bring food waste throughout the event, versus the majority of bags arriving to the compost area as the event closes.
  3. Weigh the food waste bags upon arrival at the compost area, versus estimating the weight based on prior experience.

RayDay was a perfect opportunity to test the November 8 Afternoon in the Country zero-food-waste plan.

In November 2016 Ei Partner NatureWorks published the RayDay Embraces Path to Waste Reduction case study to showcase the 2015 Ei Zero-Food- Waste Journey at RayDay. The ZWA Blog article, NatureWorks publishes zero-food-waste case studies, announces the case-study publication. Below is a downloadable version of the case study:
RayDay Embraces Path to Waste Reduction (3826 KB)


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