When Jess Fleet worked managing music and hospitality events, she was horrified at the amount of waste that was produced. While guests were having the time of their lives, drinking wine and eating great food, the amount of rubbish being thrown out at the end of each night was horrendous.
An idea started brewing in Jess’s mind. Was there a way to avoid single-use food packaging from events going to landfill? Over a beer with two friends at the Sustainable Living Festival, the question was answered: create reusable plates, cups and cutlery using plant-based materials.
The three friends became business partners, and Green My Plate was born.
The premise is simple: Green My Plate provides reusable, lightweight plates, bowls and cutlery – as well as wash stations, bins and staff – to events like birthday parties, weddings, music festivals and major food, wine and sporting events.
Systems are tailored, depending on the occasion. For something like a major sporting event, the Green My Plate team would provide the food vendors with plates. After eating, you notice you’re left with a reusable plate, which you then return to well-marked Green My Plate bins dotted throughout the venue (but not before scraping your food scraps into green bins, which is then composted either at an onsite facility or donated to the nearest community garden). Dirty plates are collected from pink bins by staff, given a thorough wash, and then recirculated to vendors.
And while some reusable dish companies might brand their products with the logos of the events they’re catering (which makes them relatively single use), Green My Plate can be reused safely and hygienically across events.
“Our plates say ‘I’m not rubbish, please reuse me’,” Jess explains. “And even just having these words, we create a mindfulness to waste. Our product makes people a bit more aware of where their waste is going, not only at an event, but in their own lives too.”
At bigger events, plates are counted and recorded so people can see the impact they’re having by how much waste they’re avoiding sending to landfill.
“We can project onto the big screen something like ‘Australia has saved 1001, 1002, 1003 plates from going to landfill’,” Jess says. “With that reporting, people can feel proud of themselves. Everyone’s a part of the change to minimise our waste.”
Green My Plate has been a Bank Australia customer for just over a year.
“One thing I really love about Bank Australia is the support and generosity they give to small businesses like ours,” Jess explains. “I’ve learned a lot about a whole lot of other sustainable businesses that I wouldn’t have known about had I not been banking with Bank Australia and seeing their blogs and social posts.”
While COVID has thrown a slight spanner in the works, the team are excited about getting back into events in and around Melbourne and Brisbane, with plans to expand across Australia and New Zealand.
“Waste is a global problem, and something everyone is faced with,” Jess says. “There aren’t many people who are using reusables in the event industry, so we’ve created something that can really take off anywhere.”
Jess is excited about changing people’s perspectives on dishes as well. “Dishes are so mundane, but we’ve created something that’s educational, fun and interactive. It’s something I’m really proud of.”
Curious to find out more about our amazing customers? You can right here.
All images C/O Pete Dillon