Soup cook-off a big hit with residents (and zero waste!)

Soup lovers in line at the Dwyer Center soup cook-off.

Sixth annual soup cook-off in Bay Village becomes first city-sponsored zero waste event

On Friday, Jan. 31, the city of Bay Village sponsored its sixth annual soup cook-off at the Dwyer Memorial Center. This is a popular winter event, with nine chefs from area senior living facilities competing for the top prize. For just $5, the guests were treated to a tasting of ten savory soups, and were able to cast ballots to vote for their winning soup. In addition to the soup choices, desserts and rolls were served.

The atmosphere was warm and festive on a cold winter’s day. Approximately 230 people were in attendance. As the ballots were counted, the anticipation increased. Finally, a winner was announced. Although only three votes (out of more than 200) separated first and second place, Westlake Village's roasted butternut squash soup edged out The Northridge's Southwestern chicken chili soup for the coveted plaque.

As much fun as social events are, they typically generate a large amount of waste that is taken to a landfill. This year, Director of Community Services Deborah Bock decided to partner with the Bay Village Green Team to make the event zero waste. This is a significant milestone as it is the first city sponsored event in Bay Village to be zero waste. Mayor Deborah Sutherland was in attendance at the event. "I’m really proud that we are able to host this wonderful event annually, and it was great to make it zero waste."

What is a zero waste event? It’s an event that will divert 90 percent or more of its waste from the landfill. This is accomplished through reduction of waste (for example, use of bulk serving items instead of single serving items) and by using serving materials that can be reused, recycled or composted. The easiest way to make a zero waste event is to have all of the materials served to your guests compostable, that way they do not need to worry about separating the materials when discarding any “waste.”

Making an event zero waste requires upfront planning with event caterers. All event caterers agreed to use only compostable materials when serving the guests. This includes paper-based cups for the soup and coffee, the use of bulk service items for items like crackers and butter, and compostable plastic cutlery. This way, all food service items and food waste can be collected and composted at a commercial compost facility.

The compostable material was collected at two zero waste stations positioned at either end of the event. Recycling was available for any bottles, cans and paper. Separate recycling collection was conducted for aluminum tins and foil (which was dropped off at Recycle Zone on Lorain Road in North Olmsted) and plastic bread bags (which can be dropped off at Heinen's or Giant Eagle).

Future Organics Inc. provided special totes for collection of the compostable material and hauled the material to a nearby commercial compost facility. The compostable material will be ground up and made into wonderful, rich soil amendment to be used in area landscaping by spring. This makes a wonderful continuous use of resources – from soil to food and back to the soil to generate more food.

At the end of the event, the “waste” was tallied – approximately 230 gallons of compostable material were collected along with one bag of materials to be recycled. There was virtually no trash.

If you are interested learning more about how to host a zero waste event, please email To set up collection of food waste composting for your event or business, contact Matt Myers at Future Organics, 330-933-9075.

Brenda OReilly

Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:42 AM, 02.04.2014