OZ HARVEST: How the CEO CookOff Went Zero Waste

food on the sugarcane bowl

Large food service events and festivals require foodservice packaging to serve guests and patrons. Single-use food packaging offers a hygienic and convenient solution, but with this comes environmental impact that needs to be considered and managed.

Charity events make an enormous positive contribution to the community and have the power to inspire positive change for the planet. Here’s how OzHarvest made even more of a positive difference by switching to compostable packaging.

The challenge

The OzHarvest CEO CookOff brings together business leaders, corporate teams and some of Australia’s best chefs to create a gourmet dinner for more than 1,400 vulnerable Australians. Serving up dinner at this scale requires large amounts of food packaging. The problem? Conventional single-use food packaging often cannot be recycled and is destined for landfill.

The solution

The OzHarvest CEO CookOff partnered with BioPak to reduce their waste to landfill and remove plastic packaging from the event. Here’s how they did it:

  • BioPak supported the event by donating plates, bowls, cups and cutlery
  • All plastic and single-use food packaging was replaced with BioPak’s donated packaging
  • Packaging was collected by BioPak at the end of the event and composted in a commercial facility

The results

In the current climate crisis, now is the time for events to reduce their environmental impact and work towards a zero-waste future.

Switching to plant-based compostable packaging is a simple step that makes a big difference. By making this change, the OzHarvest CEO CookOff:

  • Diverted over 140 kilograms of waste going to landfill
  • Quit conventional plastic alternatives and contributed to creating a future where there is no waste

Sustainable foodservice events in five simple steps

Hosting a sustainable foodservice event might seem intimidating. But it’s not as complicated as you might think and the positive impacts for the environment are invaluable.

Follow these simple steps to eliminate conventional plastic foodservice packaging and move towards zero waste:

1. Assess waste output

Review what kinds of foodservice packaging are required and how many units are purchased. Then review the overall waste output for the event. BioPak can help you determine the packaging requirements and measure waste outputs and provide compostable packaging and organic waste collection solutions.

2. Choose compostable packaging

Recommend event caterers use certified compostable packaging instead of conventional plastic packaging. This means used packaging can be composted after use, which diverts the waste from landfill.

3. Educate staff and suppliers

Start the education process with staff and suppliers early to help them understand the process, and the positive environmental benefits. Make their responsibilities clear to them and provide a contact person for more information.

4. Communicate with guests

Start the education process early to help your guests understand the initiative and feel good about the positive difference they’re making.

5. Ensure correct disposal

Make sure staff and patrons know how to dispose of food scraps and packaging at the event with clearly marked collection points, signage and posters, even newsletters and social media.

Download our free sustainable foodservice events case study

Read our case study to learn how OzHarvest CEO CookOff ditched conventional packaging and helped support the planet by moving towards zero waste.