Linden Hills Festival Just About Achieves "Zero Waste" Goal
See this garbage bag? After 4,000 visitors to Sunday's Linden Hills Festival in southwest Minneapolis, that's all the trash from the entire event! And trash guru Keiko Veasey tells us that's mostly the stuff people brought with them to the festival and threw it away.
This is the third year organizers have attempted to reach their goal of "Zero Waste" for the popular neighborhood event...and this year, they believe was their most successful attempt. Festival volunteers dished out 616 ears of corn, 1260 hot dogs, 456 brats, 105 pizzas...and yet-to-be-calculated amounts of ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, soda, water and more.
This is the first year organizers have weighed the refuse--so they now know that food produced almost 449 pounds of organic material for composting, and for recycling--13 pounds of plastic bottles, 21 pounds of recyclable cardboard, 31 pounds of aluminum cans, 13 pounds of glass (even though they didn't sell anything in glass--Veasey says this was "brought in" by festival goers), 12 pounds of plastic bags and plastic wrap, and 7 pounds of other recyclable plastics.
Total trash? 39.22 pounds! Quite a change, since the festival in past years has produced an overflowing dumpster-full of garbage by the end of the afternoon.
Linden Hills Council Board member Keiko Veasey says the secret is that organizers "made up-front choices that made it easier on the back-end" when it came to making the festival greener than ever. For example, the group worked with vendors to make sure everything was recyclable/compostable--like hot dogs wrapped in compostable wax paper, spoons made out of corn starch, paper cups for ice cream, the pop came in recyclable aluminum cans, and water in bottles. Organizers even found a recycling program for the plastic caps to the water bottles.
However, festival organizers made sure the event was still "neighborhood friendly"...for example, offering plastic lids to coffee drinkers concerned about the safety of walking around with young children and a hot drink.
Volunteers, while short in supply, made certain that festival-goers put their throw-aways in the right place. Yet Veasey says she wasn't above digging through one trash can that slipped their notice to sort out the garbage.
Veasey says the effort is "not rocket science" and she is happy the Festival is "moving in the right direction." Next time around, she says they will shift further away from vendors who "give us a hassle" when it comes to providing products that are totally compostable or recyclable.
Veasey tells us she is now working with other neighborhood groups like the Linden Hills Business Association and the East Harriet-Farmstead Neighborhood to help them achieve "greener" events.