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Tampa's Indie Flea Aims to Become Florida's First Zero Waste Market

June 28th, 2017
By Chastity Heusinger

Indie Flea Graphic

By now, we all know that one way to be sustainable is to shop local. This is a movement that has been growing rather quickly, and communities are truly profiting from this. However, if you shop local with single use plastic, you are still contributing to environmental damage that could be avoided. Tampa's Indie Flea recognizes this and acknowledges the power they have over creating positive change in this market.

This year, the Indie Flea partnered with the Suncoast Surfrider organization, who are dedicated to protecting the world's oceans, to bring their green initiatives to life. First, the Indie Flea had to get their various vendors on board with the idea of making the market zero waste. The flea worked with each vendor to convert them to recyclable and compostable materials.

After getting the vendors on board, they set up waste stations at the event where Suncoast Compost, another one of their partners, sorts the trash into recycling, compost, liquid compost, and landfill. Suncoast Compost also helps the Indie Flea calculate the data of how close they got to zero waste after each event. This past month, they saved 60% of their waste from ending up in landfills (more data can be found in the infographic).

"Making these changes to the waste stream of the market was the next step to making our market even more sustainable and Eco- Friendly. It can be challenging in the beginning to get our shoppers used to sorting trash and thinking consciously about the waste that is created, as well as getting the vendors to transition without it costing more than they afford. We are happy with the results and progress so far," said Rosey Williams, who is on the Indie Flea staff.

The Indie Flea serves as an example of how easy it is to choose alternatives to plastic and reduce our carbon footprint. If a whole market can do it, we can definitely do it by ourselves! Say no to single use plastic, use reusable bags, and compost whenever you can. These are all simple things that can make a huge difference. The Patel College is happy to see members of our community taking action to make Tampa a more eco-friendly place.