Calgary

1st Zero Waste Festival held in Calgary

Waste is a big problem at some summer festivals. But on Saturday, Calgarians gathered for a different sort of summer festival — one entirely dedicated to going green.

'It's not just about remembering to say no to a plastic straw or a plastic bag'

Two young climate change activists, Mya Chau and Willa Vipond, at Calgary's Zero Waste Festival (Helen Pike/CBC)

Waste is a big problem at some summer festivals, which can generate bags upon bags of garbage.

But on Saturday, Calgarians gathered for a different sort of summer festival — one entirely dedicated to going green.

The city's first Zero Waste Festival featured sustainable living experts and waste-free businesses .

"It's not just about remembering to say no to a plastic straw or a plastic bag, there's a little bit more to it. So clothing, fast-fashion, we have somebody talking about minimizing your life, minimizing your consumerism, those kind of ideas. You know, it all ties together which is really exciting," said Briana Loughlin, one of the founders of Plastic Free YYC which is the group behind the event.

Loughlin said Calgary's zero-waste movement is growing. 

"I think we've surprised the rest of Canada. I think, you know, we get labelled as a little bit more of an industrial, more of an oil and gas town. But there's this really big underlying movement for sustainability and green living here in the city."

She said it's an exciting time for the movement, as Canada looks to ban single-use plastics. 

That sentiment was echoed by two young speakers at the event, Mya Chau and Willa Vipond.

Chau brought a petition to Starbucks calling for greener coffee cups — and personally met the CEO to get her message across.

Vipond founded a clean-up club in Kensington and has spoken at city council to advocate for a municipal ban on single-use items.

She said some of her classmates hadn't heard of climate change until she spoke at city council, and that some of their families have changed their shopping habits.

"It makes me feel accomplished that I've made a change in my community," Vipond said. 

With files from Helen Pike

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