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How the Calgary Stampede served pancakes for 20,000 and generated only 1 bag of trash

Jul. 11, 2019

Stampede sent 306.4 tonnes of waste to the landfill during 2018 event but this year it's taking a new approach

More than 20,000 people chowed down on pancakes last weekend during a family breakfast on the Calgary Stampede grounds.

That's an awful lot of disposable forks, knives and plates — not to mention cups for water and coffee.

But a single garbage bag weighing about 13 kilograms was all that went to the landfill, said Xaviere Schneider, the Stampede's environmental co-ordinator.

"Honestly, I do a fair bit of dumpster diving during Stampede," she said.

"It's all about trying to maintain our diversion rate and making sure that people are composting and recycling as much as possible and just making sure we're not producing too big of a footprint from an event this big."

The Stampede is a 10-day celebration of western culture that infuses Calgary with a party atmosphere. More than a million people head to the Stampede grounds every year to take in shows, rides, midway games, sugar- and grease-filled concessions and rodeo events.

Big free breakfasts on the grounds, put on by the volunteer-run Caravan Committee, use compostable utensils, plates and cups made of a corn-based material that breaks down easily, Schneider said.

Juice box straws and wrappers are the only major items served at those events that go in the trash.

"Everything else either goes into the compost or recycling."

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