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Organizations lead by example in recycling.

Byline: Recycling by Pete Chism For The Register-Guard

LANE COUNTY RESIDENTS and organizations continue to prove that the old ways of thinking about garbage are slowly fading into a creative ways of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Specifically, event organizers in Lane County are discovering innovative strategies for waste reduction. The University of Oregon Campus Recycling Program has examined the waste generated at the Willamette Valley Folk Festival, with visions of future festivals at which a "garbage" can isn't needed.

At the most recent festival, Campus Recycling introduced reusable plates and forks into the food serving system to eliminate disposable plate and fork waste. Washing and reusing plates and forks was initiated by Campus Recycling and John Borgida. Borgida is a student and employee of the Campus Recycling Program. He has many years of experience in the food industry, working for many years with the Sweet Leaf Cafe, a traveling food vendor known for its reusable plate deposit system.

Borgida noted that the dishwashing facility in the student union and the small area of the festival provided an opportunity to create a reusable serving ware system, a system that proved its effectiveness by recovering 68 percent of the waste stream for recycling and compost.

The trash generated at the festival two years ago filled a 30-yard dumpster, totaling 35 yards of garbage. Most of the "trash" that filled the dumpster was food or paper products, most of which are compostable. Campus Recycling worked with a local compost facility and the city of Eugene to test acceptable serving ware for compost.

Last year, Campus Recycling, with the assistance of hard-working volunteers, collected paper plates, chopsticks, napkins and vegetable scraps for compost. This step took a chunk out of the festival trash and reduced the waste from around 35 yards to about 15.

After the incorporation of reusable plates, compost and recycling, the garbage for the 2002 festival totaled less than 10 yards, a 250 percent decrease in volume of waste generated 2 years ago!

The Oregon Country Fair also is looking to the future of zero waste. Fair organizers are becoming increasingly aware of the possibilities of waste reduction at their event.

Last year, the fair drafted a plan to eliminate the generation of waste at the fair by 2003.

One step to reduce waste at the this event is to not only require paper plates and cups, but also biodegradable utensils, thus transforming a "garbage" can into a compost can. This year, food vendors will be required to sell their dishes and drinks on paper plates and cups, to be composted.

Although 68 percent of the materials generated at the fair last year were recycled or composted, the long-term goal for the Oregon Country Fair is to implement reusables, much like the Willamette Valley Folk Festival.

The Lane County Fair also has been incorporating ways to reduce garbage. As a result, the Lane County Fair recycled and composted 67 percent of its waste, including recyclable containers and compostable food and animal waste.

These examples of waste reduction are a result of planning, lobbying, dedication and hard work from the organizers of the events and the volunteers. Fairs and festival events in Lane County are looking at their waste streams and realizing they can reduce their impact by making simple changes in purchasing materials that can be recycled, composted, or reused by Lane County citizens. If you would like more information on how to reduce garbage at your event, send an e-mail to

This column is provided by Lane County Recycling. Pete Chism is a waste reduction specialist with Lane County Waste Management.


Pete Chism Waste Reduction Specialist Lane County Waste Management 541/682-4339 (fax)541/682-2353 THE REGISTER-GUARD DAYBREAK SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2002 4F
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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