Today I had the pleasure of talking with Scott Sanders. One of the founders of Earth Day Coalition, his group just celebrated EarthFest on April 13 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Why that early when Earth Day is April 22? This year they didn’t want to conflict with the holiday weekend.)
Scott and I chatted about everything from enjoying the outdoors (he’s a sailor and cross country skier), to camping in tents, to zero waste.
(Last night I packed a typical lunch for my kids – peanut butter and jelly, cheese stick, granola bar, water in a reusable bottle. Turns out our school district is having a contest for a “litterless lunch” all week. If a child’s lunch had zero waste they could get a ticket to be entered in a drawing. My lunch didn’t make the cut. The cheese stick was packaged in plastic and the granola bar in a printed foil wrapper. )
This year the Earth Day Coalition’s EarthFest Celebration – the longest continually running Earth Day Celebration in the nation celebrating it’s 25th year in – had as it’s celebration year theme “zero waste”.
How does the Ohio EarthFest Celebration move toward zero waste? Scott said the data from this year’s celebration isn’t compiled yet. But last year they had 271 vendors and 14 food trucks. 1.9 tons of waste was composted, 1.6 tons of trash was recycled and they were left with a mere 7 bags of trash to bring to the landfill. For a festival of 15,000 people!
Like last year, there were no trash cans on the grounds. Zero waste stations manned with volunteers were set up for recycling. All food trucks were required by contract to compost, and provide compostable containers for food and drink. Volunteers on bicycle rickshaws collected recyclables. Animal waste was collected separately for composting.
“We think this festival is a good model for zero waste at other events, even a large event like the Olympics or big community events can go zero waste,” Scott says, “…and it can be used by wedding, bar mitzvahs, parties, at work and at home. It’s a model of what can be done on any level.”
Scott’s going to send me the vendor and food truck contract (I’ll share it with my local officials)
And those few bags of trash from the festival last year? Scott says, “on inspection we found the seven bags of trash were most likely about 70% compostable!”
Find a list of zero waste tips for your household on the Earth Day Coalition web site at http://www.earthdaycoalition.org/sites/default/files/filepicker/4/zero_waste_tips_final.pdf
..and I’m trying my hand at baking my first granola bars tonight. Ones that will not come in a printed foil wrapper!