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Art Fest Recycling Program Gets Green Thumbs Up

by on July 31, 2014 11:35 AM

The 2014 edition of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will go down as the greenest in the event's history.

The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority says approximately 4,000 pounds of recyclables were collected during the four day event earlier this month. The authority says that's a "tenfold increase" over last year's Arts Fest.

This time around the trash collection process was updated by a group called Fest Zero.

According to Joanne Shafer, one of the organizers of the new effort, recycling has been a part of Arts Fest since 1990. "But his year, a  very dedicated group of volunteers vowed to improve the efforts,” she said in a prepared statement. “I think the numbers speak for themselves.”

The group used the National Recycling Coalition’s Environmental Benefits Calculator to assess energy savings realized by recycling at the Arts Festival.  The 4,000 pounds of recyclables is an energy savings equal to roughly 90 households’ yearly energy consumption, and a reduction of two metric tons of greenhouse gases. That's the equivalent of taking one car from the road for an entire year.

It's a drop in the bucket because the Arts Fest typically generates about 75 tons of trash.

But this is just the first step according to Rick Bryant, the Arts Fest executive director. "Our goal is to get to zero landfill waste," he says. Bryant points out that there are some hurdles to clear. He says a lot of containers aren't recyclable and some compostable food containers don't stand up to the elements. One surprising concern is that some people just aren't interested in recycling.

"We're very fortunate to have great partners — the Borough, Penn State, the Centre County Solid Waste Authority — in this effort," says Bryant. "We had lots of dedicated volunteers out there, and we're all looking forward to more success with this effort in the future."

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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