A Sustainable Event: Greening Waste Diversion at the Mother Earth News Fair

Reader Contribution by Lauren Holt

One of the great things we try to do at each MOTHER EARTH
NEWS FAIR is to make it a truly sustainable event. It can be pretty difficult
with the inevitable complications of a lot of people in one space, but we’re
always looking for green solutions to make things better. One of our efforts is
to compost food waste and recycle as much of the FAIR’s byproducts as possible.
At the Puyallup, Wash., FAIR in June we achieved 91.4 percent
waste diversion with compost and recycling, keeping the large majority of the
FAIR’s waste out of landfills. We’re hoping to do at least as well in Seven
Springs this September.

To accomplish this, we set up several recycling stations throughout
the event grounds. Each station has five containers to collect different
recycling and reuse materials. We collect paper, cardboard and chipboard,
plastics, and compostable cups and eating utensils. We also collect glass
(which can be made into new jars, aquarium pebbles, or gorgeous recycled vases)
and organic materials – including liquids – for composting. There’s a friendly volunteer
at each station to help people figure out what goes where.

After the FAIR closes, our wonderful volunteers continue
this mission by digging through all the trash bags used during the weekend to
ensure everything is sorted properly and no potentially recyclable materials
end up in a landfill. At Puyallup,
we composted more than 6,000 pounds of food, hay, pine shavings, compostable
flatware, and animal waste, and 2,505 pounds of combined liquid wastes. We also
collected 1,000-plus pounds of other recyclables: 810 pounds of cardboard, 305
pounds of glass, 145 pounds of plastic and 30 pounds of aluminum. Of the 11,224
pounds of waste products at the FAIR, we diverted a total of 10,259 pounds! Check
out this video
to see our greening in action. 

Thanks to all our volunteers, including those who helped
green the FAIR. We couldn’t have done this without your help! Thanks too to
everyone who did their part to reduce and recycle at the Puyallup FAIR!