Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN

Zero-Waste Events

4/24/2014 8:05:00 AM

Tags: zero waste, recycling, composting, Earth Day, MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Virginia, Cindy Conner

recycle containers x 3

Earth Day activities are a time to focus on taking care of the environment. You might have attended such events. If you did, did you notice how the trash was handled? Since it was an Earth Day event there really shouldn’t have been any trash to haul away. If food and drink was served, people could have brought their own cups and plates to offer as receptacles, then taken them home. Unfortunately, I believe the Health Departments of all municipalities would have frowned on that. One year I attended an Earth Day event where all the food vendors were required to serve their food and drink using compostable plates and cups. However, I didn’t see any trash containers labeled to receive them to make sure they were destined to a compost pile. There have been many stories in the news over the years of garbage dumps yielding things that should have composted, but hadn’t because everything was sealed.

Composting and Recycling at the Mother Earth News Fairs

I took the photo of the three trash bins at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, N.C., recently. One is for things that will compost (food scraps, paper, and compostable plastic #7), another is for things that can be recycled (bottles and cans, plastic #1-7, and clean paper), and one is for everything else, which is destined for the landfill. Managing trash in this way is nothing new for Danny’s Dumpster, the company managing this service at the Mother Earth News Fair. They even have their own composting operation and sell compost! So, you can be sure those compost bins really are headed for a compost pile.

I didn’t have a booth at this Fair, but I have had one the past four years at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, Penn., and was aware of their Leave No Trace Policy which required exhibitors to not leave any debris or trash in their space. They were threatened with a fine of $50 per 100 sq. ft if they did. I left my spot clean so as not to find out how well that would be enforced. It would be nice if everyone cleaned up after themselves without being told, wherever they are. Personally I believe that people should celebrate Earth Day Every Day. You can read more about my zero waste activities at Homeplace Earth.

In the housing industry there is a LEED certification program that builders can gain points with if they meet certain requirements on a checklist. There should be such a program for event planning. If there was, and if meeting the requirements for the highest certification was something to brag about, as the LEED certification is, there would be more events planned with no waste and more companies available to help them through the process. Can you imagine if nothing would be taken to the landfill, making it really a zero waste event? I believe it could happen and it is certainly something to look forward to.

Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at

Related Content

Homegrown Wedding

A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on...

Am I Too Attached to My Baby?

Do I hold my babies too much? Should I let them cry more? Or, is it okay to be too attached to my ba...

Two Years After Oklahoma Earthquake Officials Warn More to Come

The quake that struck near Prague, Oklahoma on November 5, 2011, was the biggest ever recorded in th...

Video: A Nice Little House Made Out of a Garbage Can

A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite co...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.