REDUCING WASTE IN LOCAL FESTIVALS
Walla Walla offers a wide array of activities to its visitors year
round. These events attract a significant number of locals and tourists generating
vast amounts of waste. Most of the waste is not recyclable. This waste is deposited
in the city’s landfill. Walla Walla 2020 aims to correct this issue by
encouraging event organizers to incorporate waste reduction language in their
contracts with vendors. This project is valuable to Walla Walla community because
it will prevent future problems.
Reducing waste in local festivals was initiated in 1997 but did not achieve its goals due to the lack of interest from the event organizers. Stabilizing first contact between Walla Walla 2020 and event organizers was my main task. To achieve my objective letter were written and sent to event organizers of the main events in Walla Walla: the Balloon Stampede, 4th of July in the Park, Wheelin’ in Walla Walla, Frontier Day, and Diversity Day. This was the first attempt to get in contact with event organizers. The letter is written to appeal and attract the event organizer’s attention. A sample letter was given to me by Sandra Cannon. This letter was sent in 1999 but did not cause an impact on the readers. In the new letter the benefits for the event organizers are emphasized.
A week was given between sending the letter and making follow up calls. This period was given for event organizers to think about the importance of the project and its effects on the festival. Once the period was over I made follow up calls. The event organizers were non-responsive to the phone calls. After several attempts I got in contact with Annie Capestany, Diversity Day organizer. She expressed difficulty in incorporating waste reduction language in her contract with vendors. Weeks later Jennifer Castro, Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce Event organizer, contacted me. The letter sent to the event organizers was forwarded to her. We discussed ideas and decided to compile a list of suggestions for vendors on how to reduce waste. After researching alternative ways for vendors to conduce their business with environmental practices a list of 11 suggestions was compile and sent to the event organizers.
The main challenge in this project was the lack of response and interest from the event organizers. The lack on interest caused stagnation on the project. A meeting with Jennifer Castro was crucial for the project to succeed. She talked from the event organizer’s perspective on the project. Event organizers saw the incorporation of waste reduction language in contracts with vendors will decrease their profits and increase their work load; the restrictions will push away vendors.
To overcome this problem I compiled a list of suggestions for vendors to use as alternative ways to perform their business. It is advised to event organizers to attach this letter to their contract with vendors. This will ensure vendors reading the suggestions. The vendor community, according to Jennifer Castro, is a close community. If one suggestions to reduce waste appeals to one vendor, it is likely that the environmental practice will be passed on by word of mouth. This will be a great accomplishment. Walla Walla 2020 would be helping to reduce waste not only locally but also in other cities.
I suggest the next intern to survey vendors to see their perspective on the suggestions to reduce waste and if the vendors use the alternative methods, if so which ones. This will be a good follow up to the project.
Reducing waste in Walla Walla Festivals is of great importance to its cultural and economic wellbeing. It foresees problems in the future such as running out of space in the landfill. The local festivals are part of the culture in Walla Walla. Citizens and foreigners will see the alternative methods implemented in them to reduce waste thus becoming part of the Walla Walla culture. I learned was that incentives are great to appeal people. Many people are interested and willing to help environmental causes. The challenges arise when the project affects profits and involves an increase in the work load. Thus creativity is an important element in achieving environmental goals. The organizers who responded were willing to help reduce waste in local festivals only if profits were not disrupted and extra work was not created. Alternative methods to everyday chores have the power to reduce our environmental impact. It only requires will power to make a positive environmental change.
• Sandra Cannon: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sharon Johnson: SJohnson@co.walla-walla.wa.us
• Jennifer Castro: (509) 525-0850; Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce
• Cory Hewitt: email@example.com
• Annie Capestany: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Cindy Widmer: email@example.com
• Marty and Robyn Gehrke: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit:
We sent you a letter earlier with regards to incorporating reducing waste and recycling enticements into your contract with your vendor. In response to our meeting on the issue we have compiled a list of practical ways to reduce waste for vendors at your event. We recommend attaching the following list to your contract with vendors as suggestions.
To Help Our Festival Reduce Waste Please Consider the Following:
1. Buy stock in bulk or in concentrate whenever possible to eliminate packaging waste, trying at the same time to only purchase the quantities you need.
2. Minimize the use of extra packaging for take out foods.
3. Create a non-disposable container with your business logo as a souvenir. Sell the product in the container charging an additional fee. Patrons can refill their souvenir paying only for the product. They will view this as a reduced fee.
4. Offer a discount to customers that bring their own cup.
Use edible materials as containers, such as bread bowls and tortilla wraps.
5. Distribute condiments over the counter instead of offering them self-service or use refillable dispensers for condiments to avoid individual packaging.
6. Avoid handing out straws and lids where practical
7. Use a mesh coffee filters instead paper filters.
8. Offer one napkin per customer.
9. If disposables instead of durables must be used, shift from non-recyclable/biodegradable plastic (especially Styrofoam) to recyclable or as a minimum biodegradable utensils and dishware made from both biobased and recycled content materials. For more information visit:
10. Use cloth to clean your booth instead of paper towels.
11. Avoid flyers. Instead display a creative big poster or play music or jingles to advertise your product and attract customers. Create a list with your customer’s email address to let them know about your company.
Please call to let us know how we might help you best reduce waste at festivals: send letters to vendors, work with the local recycling center, or coordinate any changes that would benefit [event].
Tel. (509) 240-2093
After January 1 2007:
Dear [name of event] Organizer
To help you reduce costs for the [name of event], we would like to work with you and your vendors to reduce and then recycle as much of the waste generated at the event as possible. In 1999, we surveyed vendors at the [name of event] and found that the majority of waste generated was [items generated at respective events].
As a first step toward reducing waste costs, we recommend incorporating waste reduction and recycling enticements into your contracts with your vendors. The text might be as follows:
Because we want the [name of event] to be as environmentally and economically
sound as possible, we would like all vendors to ensure all food containers and
other potential waste items are either edible, reusable, or as a minimum recyclable.
For vendors who can verify they will produce no potential waste, we will reduce
[?] % of the vendor fee. For vendors who can verify they will produce only recyclable
waste, we will reduce the vendor fee by [?] %. For vendors who can verify they
will use only products with recycled content, we will reduce the vendor fee
by [?]%. Recyclable materials at our event will be aluminum cans, plastic nos.
1 and 2, glass bottles, and [?]. To apply to have the fee waived or reduced,
please submit the required information on the application form.
We suggest reducing the vendor fee by the percentage that would be paid to the city dump were the waste not avoided. The trade off for the reduced income from vendor fees would be offset by reduced waste disposal costs. The following years the [name of event] would benefit as well with an increase of vendors due to the lower vendor fee.
Please call to let us know how we might help you best reduce waste at festivals: send letters to vendors, work with the local recycling center, or coordinate any changes that would benefit the [name of event].
Claudia Galeas, Environmental Studies
Sandra Cannon, Chair
Walla Walla Resource Conservation Committee