At a time when environmental issues are often swept under the rug, Wastefree Takeout Enterprise hopes not only to open up a forum for discussion, but to stir the waters by presenting interesting, unconventional, and unique questions.
“We’re presenting the controversial topics that no one usually talks about,” said Alice Zhu, president and co-founder of Wastefree Takeout Enterprise in an interview with The Varsity.
The lack of concern for sustainable waste is the reasoning behind the sustainability conference Ideas for the World Exposé: Disruptive Topics Regarding Sustainability in the Modern, Fast-paced Society, which takes place on November 1 at the Bahen Centre.
“Wastefree Takeout is about changing the norm and challenging what is the status quo,” said Zhu.
“The conference is just about that and things we don’t talk about,” Zhu adds. The event hopes to bring together youth from the high school and university levels to offer radical solutions to the status quo of environmental advocacy. The conference has workshops lined up on innovative ideas in the field of sustainability, covering topics such as the effect of our diet on the environment, the use of political power to promote environmental change, and the role of sexism in climate change.
Wastefree Takeout is a University of Toronto non-profit student initiative that promotes the replacement of toxic Styrofoam containers with reuseable eco-containers. “We are promoting [the] eco-container [to] replace styrofoam in the takeout industry. These containers can be re-washed up to 2,000 times, and aren’t toxic like Styrofoam,” said Zhu. These containers have already been adopted at most eateries oacross campus, such as the cafés at Robarts and Gerstein libraries. Wastefree Takeout is also continuously working to persuade restaurants offcampus to offer the healthier and more eco-friendly containers.
Zhu recommends that students explore ways of reducing waste when they get take-out food. “Whenever you get takeout at a restaurant, ask if they have alternative packaging options. This lets the restaurant know that the students take ecological options seriously as a factor when choosing restaurants and signals to them to seek out to offer better choices,” said Zhu.
The conference is scheduled to begin with workshops in the morning, followed by a sustainability exhibition accompanying lunch, an interactive critical analysis of climate change, and a documentary screening of the film Cowspiracy — a documentary on the Agricultural Industry and its Secrets.