So at the start of this month we were an exhibitor at the The Royal Adelaide Show.
It spanned across 10 days and saw an estimated 470,000 walk through the turn styles.
There were hundreds of stalls and exhibitors and to our absolute delight we were awarded Champion Exhibit Under 18 sqm.
Judges comments were: “great services, staff knowledgeable with good product offering”.
The Show was an absolute turning point for our business - not just for the recognition we received from the award - but because we could see clearly how much more work needs to be done to convince people the benefits of choosing sustainable products and adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Our range of certified compostable disposable tableware was presented for display only, and not for sale, so that people new to the war on waste could touch, see and hear about the value in them and then find us online at a later date. It wasn’t a case of moving stock quickly but finding like-minded people among the crowd who either have already embraced environmentally friendly products or could potentially see the value in doing so.
Our eco products for sale included a range of reusable tableware (including stainless steel and bamboo straws), reusable coffee cups, wooden cutlery, coconut bowls, decorations and wholesome party favours.
We also used the event to promote our new website and service Down To Earth Events (actually we've offered it since 2012 as a free community service to a handful of small events) which supplies the certified compostable tableware in bulk at wholesale prices to food and drink vendors, as well as providing to small, medium and large event organisers the bin covers for each waste stream and the services of collecting of the green waste once it has been used and then disposing of it in a commercial composting facility. (Visit downtoearthevents.com.au for more info).
Eco Party Box was awarded a $3000 grant by the City of Onkaparinga in August this year to have 48 bin covers designed and manufactured in Australia to ensure that disposable tableware, packaging and food scraps collected at events make it to the appropriate bin stream so that they can be disposed of in a commercial composting facility once the event is over.
Back to the Show - we shared the stall with Jonathan's newly created business Team Pegs - which offers FSC-certified wooden pegs in team colours. They also use non-toxic ink. (Visit teampegs.com for more info).
It was a terrific marriage between the two as many people walked by and chuckled at this novelty gift idea which has its own eco credentials, before being lured in to talk about adopting an eco friendly lifestyle around their next party.
Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed the 11-hour days as it gave us the opportunity to talk in depth to a largely yet-to-be converted eco audience.
While it was sad to see many people dismiss the sustainable ideas we offered upon first glance of our products - as they lugged around masses of plastic showbags, filled with plastic wrapped sweets and plastic toys - we were able to appeal to people ready to think about how they usually contribute to landfill at parties, how they can give up straws, break up with balloons and give reusable coffee cups a go.
We feel attending mainstream markets and events is where it is at right now. While it's great to build a brand by attending Eco Markets and Expos and thereby appealing to those already thinking along the lines of sustainability the challenge really is to introduce people to cutting out disposable plastic packaging who had always considered it as a normal part of life.
We feel The War on Waste TV show and Blue Planet 2 were both a great step in waking up the masses to the environmental problems we all now face but it is up to each of us - that is those already involved in making sustainable choices - to influence mainstream thinking and to show this is not a fad or trend - it's serious stuff and the threat of more pieces of plastic being in the ocean by 2050 than there are fish is very real.
We were spurred on by the goal of introducing and educating everyone we could about how they can be part of the solution - rather than chalking up another sale.
We also had the opportunity to speak on radio three separate times explaining our mission and how we go about what we do and why we do it.
So to all the people who stopped by and said hi at the Show - a big thank you! You showed us that we are all in this together and we need to have each other's back if we are going to win this war on waste.
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