Look who's making a difference in our community!
You need not look far to find individuals and business who have decided to make sustainable decision-making a priority in their workplace. Right here in Saskatoon, we have some exceptional green-thinkers who are leading the way in ensuring our community grows sustainably and who are reaping the rewards of their hard work. Not only do they recognize and try to minimize the impact of their actions on the environment, but several of these local champions are influencing and inspiring their staff, their customers and their fellow business owners to be green too.
We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our local champions...
PotashCorp Children's Festival of Saskatchewan
The Children's Festival of Saskatchewan completed the following sustainable actions in 2016 for their annual festival:
- Hired the Bike Valet to encourage people to ride their bikes
- Made a communal art piece from all natural materials (flowers, pinecones, etc.) to help teach kids that art was about the process and not always the end result
- Aquired recycling containers from Lorras and distributed them throughout the site next to the garbage cans to encourage recycling
- Hosted the City of Saskatoon's recycling caravan, that featured games and activities for kids that promoted recycling
- Used large refillable Culligan water bottles and paper cups, instead of individual water bottles, for volunteers
- Asked a University student, with a background in making cultural events more sustainable, to attend the Festival and she made some suggestions that they plan to adopt for next year: Including planning to cut down on the sale of water bottles on the Festival site by selling re-useable, branded water bottles; and plan to stop using disposable plastic flagging tape as decoration; they will use biodegradable cutlery (compostable PLA cutlery) in the volunteer tent.
- Lorass, as an in-kind sponsor, notifies their 4000 attendees to recycle. They do this by having more than enough recycle bins on site and in various locations. Scouts groups volunteer and hired help (students) keep the site clean and empty bins when needed. They recycle all the water cups at all 13 water stations - these are bagged by the volunteers and picked up by Loraas.
- For the first time in their history they provided Virtual Bags for the participants. This saved materials printing from all the various sponsors and booth holders, as well, as the plastic bags themselves. Participants logged into the bags online to get their materials, coupons and information.
- Water at the finish is provided from large jugs - people can refill their bottles or drink from the paper recyclable cups provided.
- Shuttle bus service is offered from hotels to the race to reduce the amount of traffic and carbon emission.
- The Race booklet is available online only. They no longer have printed versions.
- Bike valet is promoted and offered to reduce not only traffic issues but transportation is a significant piece of an event's carbon footprint. Enables attendees to choose an efficient, zero-carbon trip method.
- For their signage needs they carefully assess if additional signage is needed each year. They have started using stickers to edit older signs rather than creating more waste.
- Moving forward in 2017 they will be asking all event day sponsors and vendors to bring their own reusable water bottles and allow no Styrofoam on-site. This is a practice being used at other marathons and they are in support of implementing it for next year.
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan
As an organization, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has chosen to be more environmentally conscious over the last two years of our involvement in the Green Stem program. Major changes they have made are:
- A greater focus on digital communications rather than printed paper/mailouts. They continue to use an electronic mailing list through Mailchimp in order to cut down on mailed/paper usage. This year they added electronic invites to that list. All of their sponsors and donors received an e-mail invitation to their opening night events, and they streamlined the booking process so it could also be completed by e-mail.
- Digitizing internal communications
- As much as possible, they continue to digitize communications within the office, printing documents only when absolutely necessary.
- Digitizing of the till system, their previous bar till system was a paper-receipt printing system. They continue to use iPads in order to speed up service, and in order to digitize all information for more accurate tracking purposes. This has carried over to the merchandise items they added this year including T-Shirts.
- General recycling they have continued their larger effort to sort recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles, cardboard, and other plastics in their office, and at the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival Site. This season they added four large new blue recycle bins on the site, as well as clearer signage to encourage people to recycle their programs.
- Reuse of old materials on site every season they make a strong effort to recycle and re-use construction materials such as wood, paint and screws. They also carefully store and re-use their on-site signage including chloroplast signs and street banners.
- Work related travel most meetings related to the festival are held in-office in order to eliminate travel requirements. Any meetings held within 5-6 blocks are considered walkable, so they make the effort to walk to those meetings to reduce the amount that cars are used. In cases where meetings require more than one attendee from their organization, they carpool.
- Re-using water on site and the Meewasin Environment Any water used on site (washing dishes, mopping the stage) was re-used either in flowerbeds, on the grass, or to water trees on-site. As an outdoor festival, they take pride in doing as little as possible to disturb the natural beauty of the festival grounds, and any changes they do make are in consultation with the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan staff are encouraged throughout the summer to be mindful of the practices they use day to day in order to cut down on their environmental footprint. They are grateful for their close connection to the environment as an outdoor festival and this help them continue along the Green Stem path. They will continue to move towards digitalization as much as possible, and look for any other ways in which they can continue their commitment to being environmentally friendly.
Folkfest worked with community partners such as SGI and the City of Saskatoon to encourage as many of the 35,000 festival goers to utilize the city buses to get around the city to enjoy the festival. Recycle bins are used at all venue locations and beverage containers are collected and recycled after the festival.