Pancake Festival goes green

Sustainable Wellesley with new compostable trays and utensils. Photo by Lisa Moore.

By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Contributor

The Rotary Club of Wellesley held its annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser on Saturday as part of Wellesley Wonderful Weekend. Rotarian volunteers served over 1,600 people that came to enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, ham, yogurt, and fruit with their neighbors while helping the Wellesley Rotary Club raise funds that benefit Rotary programs and the Wellesley Little League.

As a service organization, Wellesley Rotary provides important programs in support of the Wellesley community. In addition to supporting the Wellesley Little League, the Rotary provides several other programs designed to support community needs such as the Emotional Wellness Project which focuses on prevention of youth depression and suicide, the Tutoring Project which provides weekly after school academic help to elementary students, and the Arbor Day Project which helps keep Wellesley green and foster youth interest in nature conservation.

This year, there were a few changes implemented to help make the Pancake Breakfast “green.” Sustainable Wellesley President Quentin Prideaux has been attending the Pancake festival for 14 years and each year marveled at the amount of Styrofoam trash that was created at the event. “We have to fix that,” he said. Prideaux approached Wellesley Rotary President John Adams, hoping the two could come up with a solution.

Sustainable Wellesley’s focus is on issues related to climate, energy, and sustaining the natural environment. The organization looks at ways to have a direct impact on improving sustainable practices in town. The Pancake Breakfast would annually add over 1,600 Styrofoam plates and sets of plastic utensils into the waste stream. Addressing how they could make the event more environmentally friendly, Prideaux and Adams decided that even with a slight cost increase, the event would replace Styrofoam trays and plastic utensils with environmentally-friendly compostable substitutes. Cardboard trays and utensils made from corn that looks like plastic were purchased, and the leftover 4,000 unused Styrofoam trays that remained from previous Pancake Breakfast events were recycled in an effort to make a positive impact on our local environment.

Prideaux received much positive feedback from community members. “People seemed excited about the change,” he said. “And one attendee was overheard in line saying: ‘When I heard they were going Styrofoam free, I cried.’” The way Prideaux sees it, “It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting,” so finding specific instances where change can be implemented makes changing the way things are done easier. Sustainable Wellesley continues to look for new ways to impact positive changes in the community and welcome new members with new ideas. The group meets every six weeks and at events. Residents interested in getting involved with Sustainable Wellesley should contact Prideaux at Sustainablewellesley.com.

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