One of the major problems with event management is the volume of waste produced. The larger the event, the greater the waste, and food events produce the greatest waste of all.
The Gleaner-sponsored Jamaica Epicurian Escape (JEE), is committed to designing and executing an event which has as its major objective the minimisation of damage to the environment, even as it provides a high-quality food and entertainment experience that makes maximum use of Jamaican talent and products, and promotes the natural beauty and environment of the island.
To ensure this for the upcoming JEE, the management team has established an environmental committee to guide the execution of the event in compliance with the highest international standards. The committee is comprised of highly qualified environmentalists and led by Dr David Smith, environmental consultant, who has worked with major national and international organisations in the field.
Dr Smith explained, "We intend to make the JEE an annual event that will grow annually with the aim of attracting an audience similar to that of the international food festivals. At the same time, we are determined to protect the Jamaican environment for our own enjoyment and that of generations to come. This can only be achieved if we do what is necessary to make the event a sustainable one. With that in mind, we have established an environmental committee," he said.
Of course, full green compliance is an extremely expensive venture. So, while the JEE team has excellent intentions, they realise that all will not be accomplished in its inaugural staging and will have to be a work in progress, with incremental improvements towards the achievement of international certification as a green event.
Dr Smith noted that for this year, waste management is one of the areas being prioritised. Strategies will include the disposal of solid-waste products in official disposal or recycling areas; ensuring site operations do not pollute areas surrounding the venue; and eliminating the use of styrofoam containers on the main site, where possible.
"Two major initiatives in our programme will be the showcasing of plastic-bottle recycling and an 'Organic Avenue' where there will be 100 per cent compliance with the environmental guidelines and standards," said Dr Smith.
He also explained that the process has begun in partnership with Richmond Estate, venue for the JEE, and have started to incorporate an environmental-protection strategy in preparing the site. The site is being designed to: prevent waste water from entering the sea; maximise reusable materials in construction; minimise on-site vehicle use during operations, and there is thought being given to on-site composting.