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Tauranga STEM Festival soaks kids in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM Fest was held on Saturday the 12th of October 2019 at the newly-revamped Durham St in the centre of Tauranga. The recently-opened Waikato University building housed many exhibitors and is a brilliant facility.

Three thousand people attended the event between 9am and 5pm. A wide demographic came and enjoyed what this event had to offer.

Five food vendors sat at the north end of Durham St, and exhibitors were scattered down the street and inside many of the buildings.

103.1 kgs of waste was collected and Waste Wizards prevented 66.6 kgs from going to landfill.

Much of the potential landfill waste was made up of incidentals from exhibitors. Candy wrappers appeared around loads of exhibits and throughout Durham St all day. This included wrappers, lollypop sticks and event stickers.

Loads of P.L.A cups had to be landfilled as there is nowhere to compost them in the Bay of Plenty. Vendors continue to be disappointed to learn this. An alternative is hiring reusable cups for the event or amassing a mug/cup library. However, advising and rewarding people for bringing their own cup is the best way forward.

Working with vendors and exhibitors on their products and giveaways can have a huge impact on diversion. A better alternative would be to provide a drink or a treat to those with reusable cups or containers. An event or separately branded reusable cup or container could be available for purchase to make use of the free drink or treats on offer.

An achievable goal for future events would be to collaborate with the event stakeholders to create a new way to deal with some of the waste we collected on site. This could be done via online surveys, giving us time to understand and implement new solutions.

Next year, Waste Wizards would also love to have a space for worm farms and infographics displaying circular economies.

We are looking forward to it already.

Vincent Callister

Waste Wizard Director

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