Home Lifestyle Foam-Free Vaisakhi Celebration By Two Surrey Brothers

Foam-Free Vaisakhi Celebration By Two Surrey Brothers

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Vaisakhi is widely-celebrated by the Punjabi community whether it is in their home state or abroad. With the celebrations comes the tradition that has been followed for years. The annual Surrey Vaisakhi Parade is one of the largest such celebration in North America. The festival draws out nearly half a million people out to the streets and about 200 vendors set up facilities to provide free food to them. This means that there is going to be a consumption of thousands and thousands of disposable foam plates in just one day. That will lead to the generation of waste and nearly two to three million items of waste end up in a landfill from this Parade alone.

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In an effort to celebrate Vaisakhi in an environmentally-friendly way, brothers, Baljit and Sarbjit Singh Sabharwal took up an initiative to not use foam plates and instead, they opted for the use of products made from sugarcane bagasse. “We want all the vendors to think about using different kind of materials for the food serving. We’re looking at getting away from foam. No foam, no plastic – let’s go to sugarcane,” says Sarbjit Singh Sabharwal. As opposed to the foam plates, which take up nearly three decades to decompose, the sugarcane  bagasse-made products typically decompose within a couple of months. “It’s a renewable and sustainable fast-growing plant source,” said Baljit, “and can be sent to Surrey’s recently opened Biofuel Facility to be converted to compost and fuel.”

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“I feel that this goal can really change a lot of minds,” chimed in Sarbjit, “and keep our city blossoming into a beautiful and vibrant eco-friendly society, yet still a culturally engaging one. I think sometimes the roads are better than before the events, that’s how clean it is. Our concern, when we started looking at the actual problem and seeing what’s in the garbage bags – what’s in them, almost entirely, are contaminated Styrofoam products like plates and cups and the plastic. That’s a concern. That was something we really started taking to heart.”

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