Over 40 tons of waste is staying out of landfills thanks to a green initiative launched at the 22nd annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival® and led by students and their professor at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management under the guidance of Clean Vibes, a company dedicated to responsible on-site event waste management. The team created 47,960 pounds of recycling, 14,300 pounds of compost and 23,867 pounds of rescued food.
That’s a total of 86,127 pounds or over 43 tons. Included in these waste diversion efforts was food donated to local homeless shelters to make thousands of meals for food-insecure communities. The numbers are significant for the festival, which has successfully performed food rescue for more than 15 years and launched a similar recycling program initially 10 years ago.
“It was truly a great experience being a part of this monumental task and especially now to see the results that show that we did some serious good for the Festival, the community, and the planet,” said John Buschman, FIU Chaplin School professor, Green team and food rescue faculty lead, and co-director of the university’s unique bachelor’s degree in global sustainable tourism.
Nearly 65,000 people attended the 110+ gourmet gatherings that took place February 23-26 on Miami Beach and across South Florida. The green team is part of a larger model for sustainability, which includes the Chaplin School’s fully online degree that provides students with the knowledge and skills to lead the hospitality and tourism business sectors on sustainable practices, resiliency, and advocacy in this emerging field, creating the future leaders in sustainability. This spring, the first cohort of bachelor of art degree students in global sustainable tourism graduates and heads into the workforce.
“We are here to leave the beach as clean as we found it, and as a way to help our planet. Teaching people and education, it is big and sharing all our knowledge about sustainability is a great way to do that,” said Keidybel Rincon, sustainability intern and Chaplin School master’s degree student. She hopes to be a CEO — Chief Environmental Officer — one day.
While North Carolina-based Clean Vibes has implemented volunteer programs to assist in waste diversion at large events for over two decades, this was the first time they partnered strictly with a university to provide and organize the Green Team volunteers.