Our CEO Susanna Carson has taken compostable packaging to a new level.
On September 30th our CEO supported nature education and attended Nature Canada’s inaugural Nature Ball. More than the meal was sustainable at this black tie event. The event helps children and families discover nature and protect it into the future through the NatureHood program.
Susanna took the sustainable theme of the Nature Ball to heart and wore her gown made of compostable Bésics® packaging. Yes, compostable packaging made into a ball gown!
BSIbio CEO Susanna Carson in her compostable ball gown at Nature Canada’s Nature Ball.
As a founding member of Women for Nature she was honoured to be in attendance with amazing individuals all working towards the common goal of nature conservation.
What were 3 take home memories?
Here is what Susanna Carson had to say…
“Margaret Atwood, guest of honor, was brave and humorous in her remarks discussing her graphic-novel series about a superhero trying to save the planet.”
“African Bronze Honey Project was one of many inspiring organizations represented at the Ball. Their honey sales provide funds for initiatives of Canadian non-profit organizations and helps support a program to train African families to become independent wild-beekeepers.”
“I’m glad I brought a spare dress in order to sit down for dinner.”
At BSIbio we appreciate our CEO’s commitment to sustainability and look forward to supporting Nature Canada events in Western Canada!
More than 50% of people agree that what you eat says a lot about who you are (Eaters Digest Report 2016). As an event organizer or food service provider, what does your food say about you?
Diners everywhere are becoming increasingly aware that what they eat impacts their health, as well as the health of the planet. Locally sourced foods are replacing the preference for organic foods. Why? They deliver value to the local community. This desire for positive social impact, combined with the distrust of food that travels great lengths to get to our plates, is a recipe for the local, sustainable food movement (Eaters Digest Report 2016).
Rely on your suppliers to direct you to local sources
Local food experts can help you deliver the quality and thoughtfulness that sends the right message at your event. We asked Drew Munro to share his vision behind Drew’s Catering & Events. He knows exactly what his food says about him – and his clients are eating it up.
Drew Munro, founder and Chef of Drew’s Catering & Events
Drew founded Drew’s Catering & Events in 2008. Since then, he has been applying an ingredient-first approach and has never lost sight of his passion for creating beautiful, unique meals for his clients.
Being a chef is Drew’s first priority. That means he takes a granular look at the quality, freshness, and local story behind the food he serves:
“We start with the ingredients. We find out what our local suppliers can offer that is fresh and seasonal; we bring that information into the conversation with our clients to marry their preferences with the high-quality local ingredients we are proud to serve.” - Drew Munro
A good caterer will be able to provide information about where their food comes from. If you can get a high level of detail like the farmer’s name, region, or a story about the weather, you’re on the right path. Some of Drew’s favourite suppliers include the Benton Brothers for local cheese, and Deluxe Seafood for Ocean Wise certified seafood. These suppliers have their fingers on the pulse of their industries.
Your event guests crave a deeper connection to their food, and, with the help of a local food expert, you will be equipped to provide it.
Cheese Platter by Drew’s Catering & Events featuring locally sourced cheeses from Benton Brothers
Creating value to support your locally sourced menu is all about communication. At Drew’s Catering & Events, client relationships are based on a two-way conversation.
“Some clients may want something out of season; our job is to guide them to a sustainable, flavourful option that satisfies what they are looking for.” – Drew Munro
This style of service builds trust and provides support to restaurateurs and event organizers looking to create a memorable experience.
The path to sustainable business is complicated. It requires a shift in thinking and a willingness to change. If you are going with local, line-caught fish for your chowder, make sure you are not serving it in a plastic-lined bowl.
Chower and beer being served in compostable food ware at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Chowder Chow Down competition. Photo by Allison Kuhl Photography
“It’s all about education and consistency,” says Drew. “When you select the best local ingredients available and creative presentations to match, you have to think about your service all the way down to the food ware it’s presented on.”
Drew made the decision years ago to remove all traditional plastic from their service offering. To launch that decision, he made a company-wide announcement and celebrated with a staff meal – now that’s staff engagement!
If you’re at one of Drew’s events and you’re looking for bottled water or juice, you will instead be offered a mobile beverage dispenser with compostable cups or real glassware. This is a proud talking point for the team at Drew’s Catering, and clients love it. Making the change to sustainable operations is not only the right thing to do for the planet, it helps you distinguish your business from the crowd. Remember, the transition requires support, so engage your stakeholders and ask experts like Drew to help.
Want to find out more about what Drew’s Catering & Events is up to? Check them out!
BSIbio is one of many companies that joined the Plastic-Free July Challenge. What is that? It’s quite simple: Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during the month of July! At BSIbio, we took simple, day-to-day actions to drastically reduce our use of disposable plastic. Here’s what we did:
DAY 1 – WATER BOTTLE MIX & MATCH
We kept it simple and brought our reusable water bottles to the office. At BSIbio we use our water bottles for hiking, biking and circus performance! How do you use yours?
WATER BOTTLE MIX N' MATCH
Plastic bottles are one of the #1 items in global plastic pollution.
DAY 2 – NUDE LUNCH
Keep your food nude. With a bit of prep the night before, we all brought our lunches packed in reusable containers!
Single-use, landfill-bound, take-out packaging is another major contributor to our plastic pollution problem.
DAY 3 – COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
A team coffee run, using our reusable mugs! We found it boosted morale, productivity, and – of course – our caffeine levels.
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
At BSIbio, we love our coffee. We wanted to reduce the amount of disposable coffee cups that we used. Yes, we sell disposable compostable coffee cups. When you can’t go reusable, be sure to go compostable!
DAY 4 – BRING IT HOME
We found an easy recipe for DIY moisturizer. It was surprisingly simple, a great team-bonding exercise and, best of all, plastic-free!
BRING IT HOME
Plastic waste is not only created at the office.
DAY 5 – WHAT DO WE WASTE?
It is hard to eliminate waste completely, even when we are conscious of our actions. We started by looking at our waste in an average week. Our waste audit before the Plastic Free July Challenge showed our biggest waste culprits to be label paper (23%), soft plastics such as ziplock bags and granola bar wrappers (10%), and disposable coffee cups (2.5%).
During our Plastic-Free July Challenge, we made some great improvements:
We reduced our use of soft plastics from 10% to 1.9%
Disposable coffee cups went down from 2.5% to 0%
Our overall waste volume decreased by 43%!
While BSIbio didn’t end the week with zero waste, we were excited about how much we reduced! Doing the before and after audits were a key part of this challenge, meaning that we finished this challenge excited about our reductions, rather than disappointed about not having an empty garbage bin.
It’s the #PlasticFreeJuly challenge! Begun 5 years ago in Perth, Australia, the challenge is now gaining ground worldwide. The point is that for a day, a week, or the whole month, we try to go plastic-free as individuals and as businesses.
By participating in Plastic Free July, your organisation will be part of the solution to plastic pollution
- motivation from the organizers
Why? Conventional plastics (i.e. non-compostable) are entering our environment at ever-increasing rates, causing immense side effects at all levels of our ecosystems and especially our oceans.
The challenge aims to eliminate single use disposable, conventional plastics. At BSIbio, we’ve joined as an organization for week-long challenge, and we’ll be live tweeting our experiences @bsibio!
Join in the fun! Check out what we’ve got planned:
Earlier this week, the City of Richmond hosted the COOL Sustainability Expo, and today being Earth Day, it’s a great time to think about sustainability for your events and conferences.
BSIbio Compostable Costumes at COOL2016
BSIbio's booth at COOL2016: Cool events for a Cool Planet
Before we share our 3 key questions, let’s first look at what a sustainable event is and why they are becoming more popular.
What is a sustainable event?
A sustainable event has a lower impact on the environment. If you are a food vendor or caterer at a sustainable event, be prepared to answer tough questions. Event organizers will be measuring their environmental impact and one of the first areas of improvement is sure to be reducing food service waste.
Why host a sustainable event?
The average conference produces 2.5 lbs of waste per person per day (source:MeetGreen). Attendees are becoming increasingly aware of their impacts, and want to participate in a guilt-free experience. The expectation is that you – as a food vendor, supplier, or planner – understand that impact. They are looking for accountability and actions from you to reduce it.
How do you plan a zero waste event?
Creating sustainable waste solutions means taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. You can think of this in terms of a circular economy for events. Start treating your products as valuable resources! This will help you determine their environmental impact from raw material to disposal.
3 Questions every event planner should ask to get to zero waste
1. What is our goal?
Set a sustainability target and make sure it supports the core function of the event. Communicate your goal upstream to suppliers and downstream to waste haulers. Work with your food vendors to get the buy-in you need to create a welcoming, knowledgeable environment for your guests. Keep in mind that you may not reach your goal at your first event, but you will learn a lot trying. Event planners who have been moving towards zero waste for years still have room for improvement. Measure your results and keep researching best practices for your next event.
2. Do we have the right products?
When considering the flow of materials in and out of your event, you will want to make sure your compostable materials are, in fact, compostable. Check the BPI website or ask your suppliers for their product certification numbers. Equip your vendors with the resources they need to make the right purchasing decisions.
Our “biodegradable vs compostable” handout is a great place to start:
What is the difference between 'Biodegradable' and 'Compostable'?
3. Is the material going to get where it needs to go?
Talk to your waste hauler about your diversion goals. If you are working within an ‘open’ system, you may need to use recyclable and compostable materials. Check out the resources available from the National Zero Waste Council for information on working with open systems. We can help you create a ‘closed loop’ system where all compostable products, including polylactic acid (PLA), will get to the right place! Remember, there are many waste haulers to choose from – contact us for our recommended waste hauler list.
If you are able to answer these three questions, then you are on your way towards a sustainable event. As a bonus, you will see the brand value of ‘going green’!
Do you have more questions? BSIbio is here to help.
Providing samples is an incredibly effective way to get your brand noticed. Item sales can increase up to 74% over a 20-week period according to a study from R.I.S.E. (Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness).
Sounds like a no-brainer…but what about all that waste?
As your compostable foodware expert, we are proud to offer the perfect solution.BSIbio is now stocked with EcoTasters! These certified compostable tasting spoons offer an aesthetically pleasing look and feel, which allow your customers to enjoy the texture and flavour of your tasty samples.
EcoTensil shares BSIBio’s dedication to provide high quality foodware with sustainable end-of-life solutions. For organic, sustainable food samples, compostables are the best choice that reflect the values of the brand.
“As a natural food product demonstrator I consider EcoTensils an absolute blessing. I love that they are compostable, compact, strong and so darn cute. Samplers are always impressed with the simple act of pressing the two green dots together and you’ve got a spoon!”
- Christina Young, demo operator with Indigo Natural Product Management
To kick off the event, our BSIbio team is hosting a 1.5 hour workshop on “What Can Compostables Do?” to share the ins and outs of compostable food ware for purchasers, event organizers, sustainability managers, and you!
Why: Events, conferences, large gatherings create some of the best experiences in building community, sharing knowledge and new ideas. We have a major opportunity to make our events more sustainable and produce less waste, and Richmond Sustainable Event initiative has made a lot of headway in sustainable event provision.
Now’s the time to share the news! Sustainable events are here to stay. Looking for quick tips? See what COOL2016 is doing to be sustainable.
“This one day event solutions expo features world renowned thought leaders – who will share their real world experience and secrets on running successful, sustainable events – alongside over a dozen sustainable event solution providers, from water and bike stations to sustainable pyrotechnics and craft breweries.” – COOL2016 Website
This event features expert speakers on the topic of sustainable events, and an array of exhibitors and performance artists to make the Expo a cool time. Keep watch for our three costumed Compostable Food Service team.
Expert speakers at COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet on April 18 from 5-9:30pm
We look forward to seeing you there!
Looking to read more on creating sustainable events? Check out our“How to Organize Sustainable Events” blog post here.
Keeping up with sustainable trends can be tough – knowing the right course of action to reduce your impact is not always easy. If you are planning an event, reducing your impact on the environment is not only recommended, it’s expected. There are many considerations when planning a sustainable event, but the biggest impact you will need to consider is the waste generated from food and beverage service.
Science World's Science of Cocktails fundraiser used compostable, custom printed cups to keep waste out of landfills. A sustainable event doesn't have to compromise on luxury. Photo by Michelle Hondl Photography
Here are 3 questions to guide your “zero waste” planning. Incorporating sustainability into your event plan early on will allow you to focus engaging your guests rather than the garbage.
What story do your branded materials tell?
Everything you provide your guests is an opportunity to support your brand. Building sustainability into your giveaways doesn’t have to be hard, just take the time to consider what those materials are, how they provide value to you and your guests and consider their end of life solution – a key concept in the circular economy.
From the beer cups to the swag, you have a chance to tell your guests you care about the environment. Don’t know about sustainable swag? Ask our friends at Fairware.
Who are your partners and how do they support your sustainability goals?
Working towards sustainability means talking across departments and engaging in collaborative partnerships to achieve your waste diversion goals. You will end up in conversations with all kinds of people and organizations. A great example of collaboration is the Vancity “Zero Waste” approach – they have engaged community partnerships from source to end-of-life:
Sustainability is a way of thinking, not just a way of operating and your journey learning about creating a sustainable event connects you to community and solutions that will elevate your brand.
You don’t need to be a sustainability expert to run a sustainable event, but you should have a good grasp on terminology and know when you need to engage the services of an expert. Check out our blog on “biodegradable” vs. “compostable” as an example of correct “zero waste” terminology.
Measuring how the event went is key. You may not get to 100% waste diversion in your first year, but you will need to know where you’re at and where the gaps were to improve. Eurofest will be aiming for “zero waste” for the third year in a row! What are the takeaways for the next event? Do your guests, vendors and waste haulers have feedback for you? Your partnerships provide valuable insight that could be the key to unlocking your sustainable future.
Volunteers at EuroFest help guest sort their waste. Eurofest achieved 95% diversion last year!
Connect with us to find out more about how to hold sustainable events!
2015 was a big year for the “hot topic” of sustainability – did anything really change?
You may have noticed more conversations surrounding reducing our impact on the environment, climate change, composting, sustainable brands and all the rest – but did anything really change?
Top 3 lessons learned in 2015 – a year in review at BISbio
Lesson #1: Stand by the science
Policy adaptations designed to support sustainable development and operations should be supported by scientific evidence. This is not news, however BSIbio as a company has taken initiative to re-emphasize the science behind certified compostable products through our research projects. Here by standing by our founding principle that certified compostable products can significantly help reduce and divert waste.
Susanna Carson, CEO presents at the National Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver 2015
“The science is the same in Europe, as it is in Asia and North America. Empirical evidence is not different from place to place.” – Susanna Carson, CEO at BSIbio presenting at the National Zero Waste Conference. Susanna co-chairs the product design & packaging working group for the NZWC.
Our challenge, in the bio-based packaging world, is not scientific – certified compostable products. Our research this year has shown that certified compostable products, even PLA, do biodegrade in a reasonable amount of time given commercial compost conditions. The challenge is getting everyone, from manufacturer, to 3rd party compostable certifiers, to consumers, to policy-makers and waste facilities to work together. Which brings us to lesson #2…
Lesson #2: Don’t Hesitate, Collaborate
A diverse group of people tackling the same challenge make for a challenging path, but the final solution is bound to be effective. When you take on a sustainability challenge yourself, either as an individual or a company, it’s an uphill battle.
How do you collaborate?
First step is to share your goals. Even if you need to re-work those goals to match reality, you’ve got a much better chance getting the support and information you need to go waste-free or carbon neutral if you share your ideas with people.
Second step is diversify. Share your goals and ideas with people you’ve never spoken to before. Everyone in the sustainability field has different ideas on how to tackle a problem, and we are all innovators in our own way. We attended Future’s Strategies’ Leverage Lab Conference this year and saw collaboration across industries in action.
Third step is to implement, and adjust. If you’re not seeing the waste diversion you’d like to, can you communicate your goals better? Can you adjust what materials you’re purchasing to increase your diversion rates? The lesson here is if it’s difficult, don’t give up, keep going through the steps and accept small wins as you see progress.
Lesson #3: Little Company, BIG Impact
Small businesses make up 98% of all businesses in BC. Collaboratively, we can make a big impact when our needs are the needs of many. At BSIbio we met amazing small businesses through Climate Smart, which are innovating at both small and large scales to reduce their environmental impact.
Our contribution to the bio-packaging industry and research this year was a huge undertaking with a big impact – we established protocols to help organic waste facilities test BESICS products.
What does this mean?
Compostable products are tested in a lab to ensure that they breakdown quickly into usable soil, BUT we wanted to take our products to the next level and test them at the actual compost/organic waste facilities to prove they breakdown correctly under natural conditions. Did our products degrade at facilities? You bet.