Savor the Summit aims to reduce waste at annual event
On any given day, restaurants in Park City are creating small mountains of trash that go straight to the landfill. Beth Rossi is taking it upon herself to change that.
Rossi, marketing and creative director for Bill White Enterprises, is heading a partnership between members of the current cohort of the Park City Leadership program and the Park City Area Restaurant Association to host a Savor the Summit event that is eco-friendly. Participating restaurants have received resources to reduce their waste both during the event on June 16 and after.
Savor the Summit is an open-air event on Main Street where restaurants from around Park City serve meals on the street. Rossi, who works in the restaurant industry, saw the event as the perfect opportunity to speak with several organizations about decreasing the amount of waste they produce. She and the members of the leadership class approached Ginger Ries, executive director of the restaurant association, to see if she had an interest in implementing sustainable practices during Savor the Summit. Ries liked the idea.
Rossi said that part of the push toward reducing food waste came from a realization that the local landfill is quickly filling up. She said that 40 percent of most landfills are made up of food waste.
Plus, she said that the city has sustainability goals that businesses, particularly restaurants, could help the city reach.
To prepare for Savor the Summit, restaurants have received color-coded bags and instructions to fill them with the specified trash. One bag is for recyclables, one is for compostable materials and one is for items going into the landfill, such as meat scraps. Rossi and the members of the leadership class held trainings at the library for the last three weeks to explain the process to restaurants.
She plans to set up a table at the event as well to answer questions or provide further materials.
“A lot of the restaurants on Main Street already have great practices,” she said. “We want to help the other restaurants that might not be composting or recycling move in that direction.”
A company is expected to pick up recyclable materials after the event, and Wild Harvest Farms in Peoa will pick up items that can be composted, Rossi said. The leadership class then plans to collect and share data on how much waste was diverted from the landfill because of the services.
She hopes to see the project she is heading become a trend at Savor the Summit events in the future, as well as other major events in Park City.
Rossi said that restaurants often believe that adopting sustainable practices such as recycling or composting is too difficult. With this event, she hopes to change that.
“I think, ultimately, it is showing them how easy it can be,” she said. “Once they adapt, it is an easy process.”
Following the event, the members of the leadership class and the restaurant association plan to host a screening of the film “Wasted!: The story of Food Waste.” Rossi said the film, which was produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, was the catalyst for Rossi and her classmates to pursue finding solutions for food waste in Park City.
The screening is scheduled to take place on June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Jim Santy Auditorium. Following the film, a question-and-answer session will take place with Wild Harvest Farms to discuss composting for businesses and the Christian Center of Park City to discuss donating excess foods.
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Bill White shut down his restaurants in the spring when the pandemic hit. They’re back up and running, but the challenges brought on by COVID-19 remain: “[I]t seems we collectively are taking one step forward and two steps backwards.”