When you head to the Discovery Bay International School (DBIS) International Food Fair on March 9 be prepared for a new, exciting and slightly controversial emphasis on sustainability.
“We’ve been working hard to green things up as much as we can,” opens chairman of the DBIS Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), Liz Hemmings. “And we’re following the students’ lead. The kids are taught to be eco in school through initiatives like Green Week and the Lantau Island Paddle, and there are lots of concern groups at DBIS, like the Green Council and the Eco Committee. If we teach them these things, we have to support them. They’re really pushing hard.”
In aiming for sustainability and zero waste, the PTSA is promoting the concept of re-use over recycling. “We’re encouraging everyone to bring their own cups, eating utensils and take- out containers or rent them from the school’s eco team,” Liz says. “There’ll be a washing station and this way people can come away with dinner too.”
Mindful that some waste will be created at a food fair with over 40 stalls (both student- run and commercial), the PTSA is asking for help from external organisations, like Plastic Free Seas, to manage the recycling bins. They hope to turn this into an educational exercise by also bringing along a landfill bin, which they’ll try to keep as empty as possible.
“We’re aiming to be better not perfect,” Liz says. “We’re encouraging the commercial stalls not to bring recyclables but we’re being realistic. L’Ami Café will only give out plastic lids with coffee if asked to do so. We are strongly encouraging all vendors to reconsider their reliance on plastics and we are definitely seeing an increased level of awareness in the businesses that we work with.”
Another eco initiative, new this year, concerns the prizes, a large proportion of which will be second- hand. “The DBIS Eco Committee put a call out for new/ as new items,” Liz explains, “and we’ll top these up with newly bought prizes that are useful and sustainable.”
This year, too, sees an eco-shift in the activities on offer. “We’re trying to do more physical activities, like quoit toss, duck racing and basketball hoops, so as to move away from things that create waste,” says Liz.
Admitting that some of the PTSA’s decisions – giving away second- hand prizes and simply asking people to bring their own food containers – have raised a few eyebrows, Liz says most people are hugely supportive of the changes. “There’s always a balance to be struck and we think we’ve got it right,” she adds. “What we absolutely don’t want is for it to be a no fun day.”
No fun? With students flocking to the Dunk the Teacher stall (last chance to pour ice-cold water over Principal Tough), parents congregating at the Canada stall to down Bloody Caesars and Grounded playing as the afternoon heats up, the fun in fact seems guaranteed. If the PTSA has anything to worry about, it’s how they’re going to get everyone to leave come 4pm.
The Discovery Bay International School International Food Fair runs from 12pm to 4pm on March 9 at the school’s main campus.
To find out more, visit www.dbis.edu.hk.
Tags: environment, DBIS, waste, dbis food fair