We were grateful to help with the recycling efforts at St. Pat's in Five Points this year. It was definitely a herculean task to say the least! We were outnumbered with 36 volunteers compared to the 36,000 festival attendees, but we did our very best to make a difference and have fun doing it.
There was a TON of waste - literally! We were able to save 1.1 tons of recycling, but 15.7 tons of waste went into the landfill. Of that nearly 16 tons, much could have been saved for recycling, although I am unsure of that exact number.
I feel hopeful in making St. Pat's MORE green in the future. How could we help close the loop for a festival of this size next year?
We could definitely use WAY more people-power, especially towards the end of the festival. Around 4:30/5 PM was really when we were no longer able to keep up as a recycling team.
Could we obtain more recycling receptacles?
Instead of aluminum and plastic bottles, is it feasible and realistic for a festival of that size to consider draft beer in re-usable, collectors cups?
If we could streamline the food vendor process to prioritize compostable materials over styrofoam, single-use plastics, and tinfoil, our buddies at Resoil Compost could mitigate several tons that would otherwise enter the landfill. That makes both financial sense and environmental sense. Boom!
Overall, it was a fantastic and eye-opening experience. No, not for the faint of heart, but every volunteer that rolled up their sleeves made an incredible difference that they should be proud of.
What are your thoughts? How could a large-scale festival focus more on reducing waste in realistic ways?