Rachel Wang of Evoke Creatives is one of the most impressive young entrepreneurs I've met throughout this journey, I knew I had to get her to tell a little bit about what she does and how she has used our reusable cups service in the past.
First, tell us what services Evoke Creatives provides for events in the GTA?
Events! Sounds like a distant memory now. Pre-covid times, Evoke offered services to live music events, particularly around waste diversion and management. A good example of this is our plastic water bottle-free campaigns: we set up water re-fill stations and provide re-usable cup options at the bars.
One of our favourite services to offer is custom, 100% recycled signage made from the laser cutter at the Toronto Tool Library. Other services include: site clean-up and improving access to active transportation options (e.g. having monitored bike parking).
We first met when you rented our cups for the TDOT Fest,
What inspired you to use reusable cups for that event?
Our team is all about music festivals, so a lot of us have seen first-hand how bad the plastic problem is. Often times, there's no choice but to use plastic cups or buy bottled water. For large festivals, there's literally tonnes of solid waste generated over a single weekend. I like to think of 150 elephants as the waste equivalent for a festival like Coachella.
One particular motivator for using re-usable cups at TDOTFEST was that it's venue - Ontario Place - had no options for recycling or compost. Everything goes into the garbage. Crazy, right?
If you think about how many music events Ontario Place hosts on its Budweiser Stage every summer...damn. Before covid hit, Live Nation was starting to improve waste management at their festivals hosted at Ontario Place; but the smaller festival organizers (like TDOTFEST) can't afford to cover these additional costs of third-party waste sorting and removal services. This is when we turned to waste diversion options like re-usable cups as a way to reduce waste going to the landfill.
What was the response from staff/the festival organizers?
Our team had a great relationship with the TDOTFEST organizing committee. The General Manage Sheldon Universe and Founder of TDOTFEST Ed Reinberg were open and supportive to Evoke's involvement in the planning process. Decisions such as not having a foam party (which would produce grey water) so close to Lake Ontario were made as a result of our collaboration.
What instructions did you give to staff/festival organizers/your team?
We brought in our own team and volunteers; we just needed to give TDOTFEST staff a heads-up about what we were doing and where we would be. I had a radio along with all the lead organizers so that we could communicate and coordinate throughout the weekend.
Our team had 5 leaders that provided direction for the 70 volunteers that came through. For the re-usable cup deposit system, very simple instructions were given to our volunteers based on recommendations from DreamZero.
How did attendees respond?
At outdoor festivals, there's not usually an overabundance of "free" water. The easiest way to get cool water is to buy bottled water. So attendees were stoked to have our water tent set-up to re-fill re-usable water bottles and to offer re-usable DreamZero cups. This system worked well; some folks even wanted to keep their DreamZero cups as souvenirs!
Were there any health concerns or other feedback for improvements of the program?
We really appreciated the due diligence and instructions from your team around sanitation protocols. We didn't get any comments about health concerns.
Some attendees didn't have change, which made the deposit system a little more challenging.
We're looking forward to the different options DreamZero explores for future events. People were suggesting more bougie options for the bar!
Whats next for Evoke Creatives?
In response to the impacts of covid on the live music sector in Toronto, we are re-imagining how we can intersect the worlds of the arts and climate action. We hope to align and work with the City to ensure we still move towards our goals around cultural production and sustainability.
Right now, our projects are focused on: mutual aid and equity-seeking groups, interactive environmental programming for racialized youth, and migrating non-Western art forms to digital production and workflows. We'll see how this evolves!
What is the best way for people to keep up to date on what's happening at Evoke?
Check us out here
Learn more about Rachel and the impact she's having in her career beyond just Evoke Creatives:
Social Entrepreneur Changemaker, Rachel Wang, Nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30 2019
Corporate Knights Magazine
Youth rising: Meet 2019’s top 30 under 30 sustainability leaders
DreamZero is a strong supporter of reusable containers for food and beverage.
Scientists state reusables are safe and a recent Survey of Canadian Consumers Shows Strong Support for Single-Use Plastic Reduction Strategies.
For sporting events, restaurants takeout, delivery, patios, and parties -whether you need 100 pieces or 10,000 - we offer reusables solutions to meet your needs.
Check out this resource if you want to learn how to use reusables at events.