With over 113 food, commercial and artist vendors, 60 bands and 100,000+ festival goers, aka “Festies,” over 11plus tons of trash was produced.
Festival organizers, primarily President Gregg Carty (former Mayor of Carpinteria) and Logistics Director Michael “Laz” Lazaro made it their focus to beat last year’s diversion rate of 74%, a most impressive number but, not satisfactory to either men. With a lofty goal of 85% for 2011, and 100% by year five, Carty and Lazaro reached-out to E.J. Harrison & Sons, inviting them to bring Avofest’s goal to fruition. Following months of plotting, a “no trash can” plan was hatched. Festies were given two choices for disposal, either the bright yellow lid for food scraps or blue lid for all other. Starting three years ago, Avofest had banned all Styrofoam and glass containers while “encouraging” food vendors to utilize biodegradable serving products. A great start to such an arrogant goal.
E.J. Harrison committed to 30 disposal containers, remaining permanently staged at the festival, a 3-day cycle of retrieving filled containers, dumping into transport, replacing containers, hauling trash to plant.
The regime began early Friday morning not ending until Sunday evening and requiring more than five E.J. Harrison employees and three trucks. All trash was brought for processing in Ventura, where it was weighed; hand sorted and sent for recycling.
The Carpinteria Coastal View and other media sources did an exceptional job in educating the public on the new “elimination” process encouraging all to participate in greening the event.
Following days of trash processing E.J. Harrison confirmed that an 85% diversion rate was not obtained for the 2011 year, but rather 98%! With over 2.58 tons of food waste recycled by Agromin and 8.66 tons of recyclables processed at Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer Station. What kept Avofest from reaching a 100% diversion rate? It was the plastics, “lots of forks” according to Nan Drake, Government Affairs and Public Relations for E.J. Harrison. The plastics/folks issue is headed to the planning table this week.
Avofest is now the ONLY Free Festival in California with a 98% diversion rate, soon to be 100% by Avofest 2012, inked for October 5th-7th. The National average for festival diversion rates is a mere 11%.