I’ve been to three Green Festivals: two in Chicago, and one in San Francisco. As you might imagine, these events drew massive crowds: both of these cities rank in the top tier of sustainability-minded metropolitan areas. So, when Green Festival goes to Portland, Oregon for the first time next weekend, I have a hard time imagining the crowds, as this Northwestern city outpaces the rest in terms of green thinking and practice. More people get on their bikes to commute in Portland than in any other US city. Residents have over 10,000 acres of green space to enjoy. And about 63% of the city’s wastes get recycled.
Green Fest definitely has high standards for its own environmental footprints, but they’ll have to take things up a notch or two in Portland. Any event like this will result in tons of waste. The organizers, though, have a plan, plus years of experience in aiming for zero waste as part of their event goals. The tactics they use in striving for this goal include:
- The establishment of Green Teams that oversee “Resource Recovery Stations” throughout the event (no trash cans here!). These volunteers help attendees put their waste in the right place, and also sort wastes behind the scenes.
- Want to sell food at Green Fest? You’ll have to commit to using only biodegradable/compostable tableware, utensils, napkins, etc.
- Signage is another potential source of waste, so Green Fest organizers insist on reusable signs (printed on forest byproducts with water-soluble inks), or recyclable ones.
- No doubt, the organization can’t foresee every circumstance in which waste might be created, so they work with vendors on unique challenges that might create inefficient or wasteful use of materials.
If you’re going to Green Festival – Portland, feel free to come back by and tell us how it went. Enjoy!
Photo credit: Green Festival