The Zero Waste Challenge — what does that mean?

Once again, our goal is for this year’s Piedmont Earth Day Fair to be a Zero-Waste Event. That means not needing to send any waste to the landfill when the event is over. With that objective in mind, anything carried into the event needs to be recyclable, compostable, or carried back out. Recycling and composting bins will be available at the Fair, at four Zero-Waste stations spread throughout the fairgrounds. But there will be no “trash” cans—so any non-recyclable, non-compostable trash generated by exhibitors or guests must be taken home. (This includes diapers, fast food packaging, etc.)

PEA encourages guests to think creatively about ways to reduce or eliminate waste on Earth Day, as well as the rest of the year. All food and drink sold at the Fair will be served in/on recyclable or compostable containers. Piedmont Environmental Alliance has created Zero-Waste Guidelines for all its exhibitors and food vendors. Thank you for doing your part!

Zero-Waste Results from the 2014 Fair

Last year we met our goals except for three garbage bags that needed to go to the landfill, mostly with trash brought in by guests. Given that over 9,000 people attended, that’s pretty good. Of course, our goal is always to be 100% Zero Waste! Our thanks to Wells Fargo for providing a grant to purchase new materials for the Zero Waste Stations, Gallins Family Farm for taking our organic waste and turning into nutrient-rich compost, and to Waste Management for picking up our recycling—all free of charge.

PEA's Zero Waste Challenge is funded by a grant from Wells Fargo.  wells fargo logo

Gallins Family Farm

This year we’re proud to once again partner with Gallins Family Farm. Their  commercial composting program, founded in 2010, is a leader in the Triad for providing professional organic-waste services. Gallins works with businesses throughout North Carolina to divert organic waste from landfills, recycling that waste into nutrient-rich compost. The process stimulates the local economy and benefits the entire community: businesses, farmers, and consumers.

Why not just put our organic waste in trash bins and send it to landfills to break down there? First of all, all garbage in landfills—including organic waste—winds up sitting under layers of other trash indefinitely, creating a vacuum without oxygen. This causes organic waste to break down anaerobically, which actually creates methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 20 times more damaging to the environment than CO2! Composting also reduces waste in food production, and it improves soil health and structure.