It's something to think about as the trash mounts at the fairgrounds.
[jump] According to Lynn Hoffman, associate director of communications at Eureka, 78 percent of all discards at RTG were either recycled or composted, and all those music lovers left the equivalent of two ounces of waste per person. Sounds pretty impressive, especially when you think of all the corn dogs, grilled corn on the cob, vodka coolers, gyros, and beers doled out to the crowds.
However, it's actually a few ticks farther away from Eureka's zero-waste goal than they hoped because of the crapola weather. Turns out that most of us left behind our plastic ponchos, wet blankets (the literal ones, not the figurative), and other rain gear when we departed the lawns of the Walker. Although Hoffman said that many of the items could have been taken home, washed up, and reused, the concert-goers tossed them. Eureka wasn't prepared to take care of so many orphaned tarps.
While it's a bit of a bummer, there is an upside. The food and drink vendors were planning and sorting like champs. The more than 100 volunteers who manned the recycling receptacles also did a yeoman's job. And perhaps most importantly, Eureka and the Walker learned a valuable lesson about including provisions for bad weather in their plans.
In all, 2,960 pounds of material were composted, while 1,459 pounds of bottles and cans and 720 of cardboard were recycled. That's not too shabby. So next year, Eureka and the Walker will remind rockers to bring--and to leave with--only reusable items.
In the meantime, enjoy the fair, and keep in mind that all these other zero-waste efforts/events are rolling out in September:
Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour, Sunday, September 11, 7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.