A group of community organizations will be launching a recycling and composting effort on Sunday, April 30 at the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Food Fair, with the support of local businesses and festival leaders. One of the strongest community values in our region is a sense of caring for our natural environment and this effort to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill fits nicely with that ethos.
Towards Zero Waste Apple Blossom is the moniker they’ve chosen for this community effort involving Wenatchee Valley Rotary Clubs, Winton Manufacturing Compost Works, Young Life, Waste Management, Waste Loop, Sustainable North Central Washington, and some local restaurants, according to Kris Cameron of Confluence Rotary. Cameron is part of Rotary’s working group encouraging environmental sustainability.
Community volunteers, members of the participating organizations, and members of the WHS Interact Club and WVC Sustainability Program, will help guide festival attendees to deposit compostable and recyclable items in the correct receptacles at stations located throughout Memorial Park that first Sunday of Apple Blossom, which is Youth Day.
Local food vendors Cakes for College, Garlini’s, Inna’s Cuisine, and Cuc Tran will participate by using compostable forks and other items that day. This effort follows in the footsteps of Leavenworth Oktoberfest’s program to reduce what goes in the landfill, a partnership between the Leavenworth Chamber, Waste Loop, and Winton Mfg., a new company providing commercial composting services in what used to be a lumber mill near Coles Corner.
The Leavenworth Chamber is lending its separation stations for the Youth Day effort at Apple Blossom. “We’re grateful to the Leavenworth Chamber for their support and for setting such a great example for us,” Cameron said.
The festival generates a lot of garbage. Last year, more than 13 tons of garbage was collected during the festival, said Waste Management’s Tyler Mackay. Waste Management is a sponsor of the festival and its contract with the city includes garbage services for the festival.
“Thanks to Kris’s work with Rotary and our coordination with Darci (Christoferson) at the festival, we will provide complimentary cardboard recycling for vendors,” he wrote in an email.
Young Life volunteers handle garbage collection throughout the festival as a way to raise funds. This year they will be depositing cardboard generated by vendors into a special receptacle donated by Waste Management that will be taken to Michelsen Packaging Company for recycling. Mixed recycling from Youth Day will be sent to a sorting facility in Spokane.
Beer garden manager Alex Haley jumped at the chance to participate. Icicle Brewing & München Haus in Leavenworth offered a $2,000 sponsorship to purchase compostable cups for the beer garden, and Winton Manufacturing is donating its services to collect and process them, as well as compostable waste collected on Youth Day. Confluence Rotary volunteers will collect and transport empty glass bottles to the Rotary 911 Glass Rescue Center in Chelan.
Cameron praised the months-long team effort to make this project possible. For example, Jana Fischback of Sustainable NCW has designed the ads for the Apple Blossom program and outreach to local media. Waste Loop designed the logo, secured the loan of the waste collection stations, and is providing training for volunteers. Confluence Rotary has purchased supplies, advertising, and incidentals. Young Life has gladly offered to change up their routine to get items in the right containers, and Winton Mfg. and Waste Management have been invaluable consultants and generous sponsors.
Living our lives in ways that minimize the impact on natural resources makes good sense for our pocketbook, our communities and the planet. What I like about the Toward Zero Waste Apple Blossom effort is that it is entirely voluntary. People tend to positively respond to encouragement. Cameron hopes that this pilot project will be expanded in future years to the entire festival, other local community events, and other festivals in the region.
Rufus Woods is the publisher emeritus of The Wenatchee World. He may be reached at email@example.com or 509-665-1162.
Discuss the news on NABUR, a place to have local conversations The Neighborhood Alliance for Better Understanding and Respect ✔ A site just for our local community ✔ Focused on facts, not misinformation ✔ Free for everyone