What a Journey

As the manager of the Zero Waste McMinnville Facebook page I see the issues that resonate with people.  I shared a story about a recycled arts festival about 18 months ago and there was some mild interest with maybe 20 likes. Four months later a similar story came to me and when I shared it again, the response was similar. Then a few months later I posted a third story and it went “viral” with over 100 likes.

So, after talking to a friend of mine who has been presenting her work at crafts and art fairs for years and hearing her response (“We should do this here!”) I popped over to a Facebook page for artists and artisans in the Northwest and posted a query. “We’re not planning this yet….I just want to know if any artists out there would participate if we did.”  Within a week I had the names of 60 artists.

So I decided my friend was right and together we got a small working committee together: Aundrea Harris, John “Sam” Houston, and my husband Graham and myself, Beth Rankin. We sat down the first time December 4th and started brainstorming ideas. We met almost weekly for at least 2 hours and each of us had lots of homework assignments.

One task that I took on was to identify more artists to issue direct invitations and not rely on posters and Facebook postings that we wanted artists to apply. In the course of a week, reading through numerous Facebook craft and art show pages and then on to Etsy searching for recycled arts and then on to Instagram, I identified another 90. We visited galleries in the area and got a lot of advice.

We set a response date and we formed a jury to review all the applications. The four of us on the planning committee were reading the applications as they came in, but the outside jury participant had no idea and came to the meeting with ideas of his own in case the work presented did not meet the quality we hoped for. He was blown away.

Participating as a jury member is interesting because you have to analyze  the work that it takes to produce something while suspending your own reaction to the art. That is one reason why there is a committee-to balance that “personal preference” factor.

The other reason the jury is made up of people from different artistic mediums is because the viewpoints of the general public has to be considered. However, as artists who sell to the public, we know there are  people who do not do that kind of work and thereby do not appreciate the effort to use creative ability and accumulated experience to produce the work. Many of us have heard “oh, I could make that” many times.  We also know few people actually take the time to learn and better that craft.  The artists who have built their craft into art are people whose work should be respected.

neckpiece Carla FoxMost people, we know, will be amazed at the offerings that the inaugural McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival will present. The concept of “trash to treasures” interests many, amuses some, but there are still people who are not convinced. For example, when I saw the neckpieces that Carla Fox will be offering, I knew the white one might appeal to a bride. I imagined a less expensive simple white sheath as a dress with this neckpiece as embellishment and believe some bride would feel gorgeous while keeping their dress budget more reasonable. So I contacted about eight wedding consultants. Seven never responded. One was offended I would think her clients would wear garbage. She obviously doesn’t understand and it was not worth the time to educate her with her anger so apparent. I had a festival to organize.

But you understand. You know that we can always increase our own personal sustainable practices. You appreciate learning of ways others reduce what goes to the landfill.

The community has responded in amazing ways. For example, I mentioned to one of the management at Recology that we wanted to put a street banner up over McMinnville’s NE 3rd Street, and he offered to pay for it. street banner bThat freed up money from our marketing budget and when I was contacted by That Oregon Life (in response to our press release) to see if they could help and I told them about Zero Waste McMinnville, they immediately reduced their fee for the services they would provide. Howie Harkema was happy to have us on his community access tv program, Speaking Frankly: and How We Doin?  . Then his camera person offered to come and take video. Other media have responded that they will come as well.

We can see the metrics of some of our advertising so we know we have reached a lot of people. We’re amused and excited by the number of people who have “purchased” free tickets on Eventbrite because we can see that Friday has a strong appeal to many.  When I started posting the artist spotlights on this blog and thereby on Facebook readership on both increased dramatically.  We know we have your attention. LOGO jpeg

My latest nightmare is that there was a traffic jam a la Field of Dreams……..bring it on!

Lifeblood

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Zero Waste McMinnville organization.  Without people willing to give their time and energy, the issues that feel so important to us  would not get accomplished.

During the spring, summer and fall, we have “event season”.  Starting this past weekend with Farm Fest at the Heritage Center, Zero Waste McMinnville will have a presence at just about every event in McMinnville through September!FarmFest sorting  FB_IMG

 

When the organization was formed over five years ago, the concept of reaching out to the public at events like UFO Celebration and Turkeyrama was at first confusing. Who wants to learn about trash when they come to a downtown event for fun? IMG_3237

Well, it seems like almost everyone.! We still respect our local curmudgeon’s right to stamp his feet and grumble but we do admit we think he is silly. Whether you understand the causes of global warming or not, there still are many things you can personally do to help the earth be healthy. IMG_3238

During the festivals most of our our volunteers help by standing or sitting near the bins and teaching visitors to sort their trash into “recycle”, “compost”, and “landfill”. Since different trash haulers in different cities have different rules, there is plenty of confusion and it is an easy 10-second exchange of info that helps garbage end up in the right bin.compost bin explanation

Unsure you have the McMinnville system understood well enough to avoid loading bins wrong? Well, a very short training session Monday, May 6  from 5:30-7 at the Carnegie Room of the Mac Library will help!volunteer FarmFest 2018

There are other tasks at the festivals as well, and of course, our ongoing committees also need volunteers.

If you have 3 hours – or more-  to give to the community, please join us for the training!

Any questions? Email Patriciafaye Marshall for more information.

 

Artist Spotlight: Valeri Darling and Darling Art by Valeri

Although Valeri has been selling her art for over 35 years, her turn to reclaimed materials started only a few years ago. She had been unemployed for a while and her desire to make art had not diminished but her budget for supplies had.  Most of us can recognize that  frustration, By changing her point of view, suddenly TP rolls, junk jewelry, cereal boxes and things most people throw in the garbage become objects of interest. Valeri Darling Artwork-Vintage Canvas - Darling Art By Valeri - Valeri Darling

Learning how to work with all these pieces of “trash” became part of the challenge to get people to change from rolling their eyes to a stunned  “One person’s junk IS another person’s  treasure”  recognition of a truth. dragonfly Journal - Darling Art By Valeri - Valeri Darling

Valeri’s designs are quirky, sophisticated and whimsical. Each of her pieces are made of many things, repurposed items, scraps of old metal, broken jewelry and so much more. “Bringing back to life the old, worn out and discarded, is what makes it all worth while.”Rock Out Guitar - Darling Art By Valeri - Valeri Darling

Valeri Darling and Darling Art By Valeri will be at Tables #9 & 10.

 

McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival

We all enjoy a good fair, one with a lot of interesting and well made products for sale. Some may be art, some may be usable things to wear or use. I love going to those kinds of markets because the ideas are amazing, the artists work enviable, and there’s always a sense of fun and theater……it’s a place to have a good time.

Time to mark your calendar: Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27 will be the dates of the inaugural event. A star studded event with amazing things to brighten your life.

And all from trash.

I am fortunate that my life has artists in it. Creative people who have skills with paint or fabric or beads or you name it, skills that are beyond my ken but boy oh boy can I appreciate the time and effort. Now, you can too. Over forty artists and creative people will be inside the Linfield Nicholson Library from 10-4 both days.nicholson library

Fabric artists who use worn out discarded cloth. Metal artists who grab up the discarded bolts and screws and other small pieces of hardware. Jewelers who use a variety of materials including stones, shells, metal, cloth, and more to provide bling in our lives. You will find some people who work with wood-pieces found in the woods or on the scrap pile in a wood using industry.

Could you personally make some of these things? Possibly….but you know your ability and you know your life demands……will you? Probably not……so enjoy this event and take something special home!

I’m excited because I’m been on the planning committee for the past four months and I can see where all our effort is leading: to a new annual McMinnville event that will become a regional favorite.

We tried to tie the arts festival to Earth Day, but it falls on Easter Sunday this year and no matter how much you may or may not be a church goer, we postponed it one week so there are no conflicts for anyone. Earth Day really is not just one day of the year. The celebration reminds you to be a good steward all the time. Coming to the Recycled Arts Festival will be an excellent way to show your recognition of how to keep the earth healthy.

The committee made an early effort to review posts on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram and other social media platforms to identify artists and artisans who carefully use discards from other people to fashion their products.

Now it is time to invite them as well as an open call to others who missed. Please continue reading to understand the requirements and get those applications sent in!!

For the rest of you, see you on the 26th and 27th of April!!!

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We are happy you decided to apply to join our festival. This is the inaugural event and we have put a lot of effort into planning it as carefully as possible because we want to see this succeed and become as appreciated as other similar events in the region.  We ask that you read this thoroughly, ask us any questions, but above all, understand that the success of this event also depends on you. We need your cooperation, so read on and let us know if you are willing to fully participate.

 How to Qualify as a Vendor:

  1. While the name of the event is the Recycled Arts Festival, in reality the items that comprise at least 65% of your items must be used items or cast-off trash, typically on its eventual way to the landfill. We call what you do upcycling or repurposing. If your art uses natural items, without your use, those items would have naturally decayed. 
  2. All items must be handmade. There will be no MLM marketing nor resales of other makers’ work.
  3. You may share a table or booth space but each vendor must apply and be juried in. Both applications must have a note with the request to share and the name of the other vendor.
  4. Send at last 5 electronic photos that clearly show your work and its quality. Not only will these photos be used to jury you into the festival, but they will be used in festival marketing. You already agreed to permit use of these materials for marketing purposes when you submitted them with your jury application.
  5. Once you have been contacted that your work is acceptable to the jury, send your fee via Paypal to reserve a table. No table space is reserved without payment. If funds are not received by March 21, it will be assumed that you are no longer available to attend the event and another vendor will be offered your space.

 Prior to the Event:

  1. Both of our main sponsors, Zero Waste McMinnville and the Linfield College Sustainability Office, rely on education to teach people about the world of recycling and how upcycling, sustainable use and re-use relates to it. We need your help with educating the people who come to the festival. To this regard we ask that you:  
  2. Use only sustainable items to package your sales.
  3. Provide your story to the public – why do you use the materials you use? You can use a poster or brochure or be ready to talk a lot. Your application should have some indication of your philosophy which we will use in marketing materials for the event.
  4. You must must must help with marketing. We ask that you not only add to the Festival webpage and Facebook pages but also on your own Facebook page and website. We ask that you email out the poster we will share with you to your friends and family. We would like you to be personally responsible for at least 10 people through that door. And if anyone has a connection to a news outlet, let us know.
  1. Your ability to request a certain space will depend on the timeliness of your application. We are offering a 10% discount in the booth fee for the first ten vendors who complete their registration. We are closing the application process on March 1st with notification to all vendors about acceptance by March 15th
    1. If you apply after all spaces have been reserved, do you want to be put on a waiting list in case we get cancellations?
    2. We have 22 spots that are 10×10. Since the event is inside the library we ask you do not use a canopy unless it is mandatory for your display. We request the awning be removed or white in color to help keep the ambiance of open and airy in the space. SOME of these booth spaces will have electricity available. Let us know if it is needed.
    3. We have 12 spots that are 5×6 tables set up for studying. There are several lights in place on those tables that cannot be moved so you will need to position your things around them, but you also benefit with the added lighting. There are electrical outlets on these tables.
    4. We have 6 spots that are 5×8 tables set up for studying, Also, there are lights in place that cannot be moved, and electrical outlets available.
    5. There are 4 spaces that are on top of the newspaper racks. They are 48 inches high. These are 5×6 and have no power and no seating. You will need to bring a stool or stand.
  2. We know life happens and sometimes the best plans don’t work out. Cancellations before April 1st will be refunded minus the initial $10 jury fee. If you cancel after April 1st you will not get a refund (minus the initial $10 jury fee) unless we are able to fill your space with another vendor. Your refund will be made after the festival dates.
  3. Adult vendors are age 18 and up. We are offering a small amount of display space for youths under 18. In addition, we will make a few tables available on Saturday only as there are minors with growing art skills. It is also mandatory that all minors are accompanied by a parent and attend the entire time the festival is open. That includes set up prior to the 10am start and clean up after the 4pm public close.
  4. The jury fee is not refundable.

During the Event:

  1. Set up begins at 8am on Friday. All vendors must be ready when the public can enter at 10am. We are hoping to have some volunteers to help with your set-up if needed, but please have all the wheeled carts you typically use to haul your items from the parking lot, which is adjacent to the library. We will require you to move to the rear of the lot away from the front door after you off-load in order to allow easy access for the shoppers.
  2. Artist is responsible to supply all 10×10 booth equipment; displays, additional lighting, special tables, cloths, chairs, etc. Booths must be self-contained. We cannot use existing walls for display or support of exhibition. Artists who opt for table space should not bring any other table. Chairs are available.  No flashing flights are permitted.
  3. We urge everyone to be respectful of the library space and want to minimize our potential impact on the setting, including the floor, the furniture and of course the books. Please be very careful when eating in your booth space. Make sure all drinking containers have lids to minimize splash or spills.
  4. We will contact you a week before the festival to see if you want to pre-order lunch. Third Street Pizza will deliver food. We will limit the menu to one or two kinds of pizza and a salad. You may bring your own lunch if you want. There is some food close by off-campus but that will require you to lose at least 30 minutes.
  5. If you bring items to the event for sale that do not quality as at least 65% repurposed/upcycled/recycled you will be asked to remove those items from the sale.
  6. If you have any issues or concerns during the event come to the Festival Information Table which will be in the center of the room near the newspaper stacks.
  7. You can leave your display as is when the festival ends at 4pm Friday. The building will be closing and will not reopen until Saturday morning.
  8. Please be in place at your booth by 8:30 on Saturday. Remember to park your cars at the back of the parking lot.
  9. No packing up before Saturday 4pm. We must be out of the library by 5pm but there should be no problem with that. Again, we hope to have some volunteers to help you.
  10. After the festival we will email you the evaluation form. This will include areas where we need to improve for the next year, things we did right, and an indication of your income so next year we can inform potential vendors how we did this year. This will be unidentified and typically in a range (i.e. vendors earned between $250-$1200, with an average of $500.) People who do not submit a completed evaluation form will not be permitted in subsequent events.

To apply to the McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival, click on this link

Join us!!  qr code recycled_arts_festival

 

 

What’s Happening?

There has been a bit of a lull with active Zero Waste McMinnville volunteers as the hectic events season ended with the last Downtown Farmers’ Market.  It gives us all a moment to catch our breaths and regroup. We don’t stop working towards our goal; in fact, the committee work gears up since each of us is not pulled in six different directions any given day.

So, part of what you are reading that that we are always working to get to that goal of 90% of trash diverted from the landfill by 2024.

But more importantly, part of what you are reading here is also a statement of fatigue: we are a small and mighty group but we really would be willing to have more of you join us in chasing the goal. That eases the tasks each one of us handles.

We’ve heard you: you appreciate what we’re doing even as some in town may not agree with all aspects of the decision making. Actually,  agree with us or disagree, the best way to get yourself heard better is to join us. The next meeting will be Monday, November 5th at 5:30 in the Carnegie Room at the Public Library.

Right now there are several committees in active planning.

  • Styrofoam collection: we know you want it. Styrofoam comes into our homes in several ways including the trays under the meat you purchase at the supermarket, many of the take-out containers used at restaurants, and of course, the packing materials in boxes that get mailed to you as well as appliances and furniture you purchase here in town.  While we all get some Styrofoam, we support Recology’s decision not to have a curb-side collection.  It costs them a lot to run pick-up service and in a situation like this, the household volume does not support that level of activity. We believe that establishing a collection area at the Depot would be a good solution. Similar to other items (like cardboard, textiles, books, glass, electronics and more), a collection container for Styrofoam will probably provide you an outlet without much bother. Unfortunately, Recology’s space is tight inside the Depot. For the Styrofoam to be viable to Agilyx (the company that can break it down into its components and then truly make it available for new/recycled Styrofoam to be manufactured), it needs to be protected from the weather. We are asking residents of McMinnville to sign a petition asking the City Council to add a stipulation to the contract with Recology to provide this service.   As a way to demonstrate to Recology that the public wants this service, we are trying to set up a collection day, probably in January  (after all those padded packages arrive as part of holiday shopping). Watch our website calendar as well as announcements on the Facebook page to participate.

 

  • Composting collection: Currently you can use your Yard Waste trash bin to include uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and a few other raw produce leavings. Do not include egg shells, as they take a bit longer to break down into the good nutritional calcium element and remaining pieces of shell flecks in the compost produced by Greenlands has caused some dissatisfaction.  We encourage you to have a small compost pile in your own yard if you have space, as the nutrients that develop in the rich decayed material will feed your flower and food gardens. More items can be used in a home compost pile as seen in the photo.  Zero Waste has been working towards implementation of a commercial pick up from restaurants, schools, the hospital and nursing homes. Once we implement a pilot program we can work out issues that might hamper curbside collection citywide, so it’s important we work it slowly and carefully.  We could use some help on this committee, with tasks that would include or not include physical effort.

 

  • By both volume (space used) and weight, debris from demolition and construction is the single largest category of trash going to the landfill. It is in the financial interest of anyone paying for trash pickup in McMinnville that we solve this problem!  We appreciate Cellar Ridge Construction  offering to help us explore our options here. This is a perfect example of a type of special expertise that is needed for this task. People with large scale experience knows not only the issues they themselves deal with, the solutions they have developed that may be viable on a larger scale, and the ability to know what the construction industry overall in areas interested in zero waste are doing to address this problem. We need not reinvent the wheel, so to speak, if another location already has developed a solution.  If you have the time and knowledge to lend a hand with this problem, please let us know.  When we have larger committees, each person’s time involvement lessens.  We love our volunteers and do not want them to fatigue out of chasing the mission

 

  • We are planning an Earth Day event that we have great hopes will excite you! We’ve posted  in this blog as well as on Facebook numerous stories about places around the world where amazing useful items and artistic decor are made using items that would otherwise end up in the trash. We hope you will be excited to explore The McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival!!  The committee has been working hard the last few weeks and we will be announcing the when/where/why/who/how information asap!  This will be a juried event which means the artisans who will be participating will have to submit extensive information about their products for us to determine they meet our quality standards. All prices will be offered. This will not be an exclusive event but one where everyone living in the area will enjoy not only the creativity of the artists, but how the usefulness of many of the handcrafted items would fit your own needs.

 

  • Another committee that is approaching the culmination of planning is the Merchant Awards group. We recognize that each of us probably needs to be more mindful of the materials in items we purchase and how we can best use them when we no longer need it. It’s easy for people to be reluctant about the changes they can make and Zero Waste McMinnville wants to recognize the amazing steps some people are taking to minimize their contribution to the landfill. Our first phase of this involves award to shopkeepers, restaurants, and other similar businesses who have met standards we have suggested for best practices.

 

  • There are several more committees and working groups that help Zero Waste McMinnville develop an action plan for reaching the mission. One aspect is working with the youth in town. An active committee is introducing the Green Schools program in city schools. Last year Patton Middle School participated and were amazing creative and excited participants.  Because of the help we provide at area events, we see that overall, the children of this city already are aware that they have a role in helping our environment be healthy.  Kids often show their parents how to sort their trash, for example!  Our intern Maddie is developing ideas of other ways to reach out to the school-age population here.

 

We are not a large group, but we are attracting more people to this way of thinking and many more are volunteering their energy, as they can. We do not abuse our volunteers. We encourage you to find the best fit…there are so many ways…..but not to overdo.  Another way you can join our group is to consider a financial contribution. Our annual Sustaining Circle dinner is scheduled for Friday, November 16th  and we would love for you to be there. This year we are excited to host the event at Youngberg Hill Winery 

Part of the Community

A small city, like McMinnville, offers its residents a chance to get lost, as it is large enough. It also offers a chance to be part of something, as there are multiple events and activities.

I urge you to join, to be a part of this community. It is a tremendous feeling to be part of an activity from the “inside” or “backstage” crew.

For example, in only a few weeks McMinnville will be rolicking with its annual UFO Festival. As much as I generally try to avoid crowds, this is one event I love to attend. I put on something a bit weird and feel that I can let my inner child out to roam for one afternoon.  DSC_0008

My practical side volunteers with Zero Waste McMinnville. I go early to volunteer, thereby grabbing a parking space pretty close to the action.  The work always stops for the parade, so there is nothing lost in volunteering. What you gain is being an active participant in reducing the amount of trash that goes to the landfill.

At the UFO Festival, at the weekly farmers’ markets, at TurkeyRama and at several more public events that attract residents as well as visitors, there are several kinds of tasks that need volunteers. farmers market as

If you are a people person, we need you to help stand or sit by one of the collection station as a Station Host. This is the place where people (learn to) sort their garbage into “recyclable”, “compostable” or “landfill”. There is a bucket for liquids left in drink containers, and another container for cans and bottles. Most of the time, people appreciate the help learning, especially now that Recology had to adjust what can be taken for recycling.  There are, however, always a few people who just get glee out of purposely doing it wrong. You learn to ignore them.

Two other tasks may be for you if you don’t want to interact with people much.  One is the Runner, who uses a 2-wheel dolly and collects the trash bags and brings them back to the sorting station.

The Sorters, wearing gloves and aprons, actually open all the trash bags and then “super sort”, clearly making sure the right trash goes into the right category. Everything is weighed in order to check how the event is doing each year.

Volunteer shifts are generally 3 hours long and some events need 4 people (Farmers’ Market) and some, like the UFO Festival, TurkeyRama and the Highland Games need over 50 people!

  • If you sit at home feeling blue because you don’t know anyone, join us.
  • If you enjoy doing things with your friends, join us.
  • If you want to go to the event, join us.
  • If you have never been to the event, join us.
  • And, for the Highland Games, if you want to go but don’t want to pay admission, join us.

To join in the fun go to the EVENT SIGN-UP page. The volunteer coordinator will contact you and answer your questions.

Now what do I do with it?

The pause in rain and the appearance of the sun are sure signs that outdoor activities are soon to follow.  Here in McMinnville, for example, the downtown Farmers’ Market begins Thursday May 18. It will have new hours, noon-6:00, that will make it convenient for people to pop over on their lunch hour to shop AND grab lunch. Because of construction on 2nd Street, it will relocate to Cowls between 2nd and 1st and also in the parking lot behind City Hall.

May 18th is also the start of the UFO Fest with the parade on Saturday the 20th at 2pm. On that day alone there will be about 20,000 people in downtown Mac!

And people mean……among other things, trash.  Lots of trash.

Before Zero Waste McMinnville started their effort to help divert garbage from the landfill, that event itself resulted in almost a ton of garbage at the landfill. Two years ago over 60% was diverted and last year over 75% was diverted away from the landfill!

What does that mean? It means that with a bit of help learning what can be recycled and what can be composted, only a small portion of the trash ended up in the landfill! Way to go!!!

We have been using  ClearStream stations on loan from Yamhill County Solid Waste Advisor Sherrie Mathison, and have been using them since 2015. Thanks to Sherrie for her support!   Our new ClearStream recycling stations were purchased with grant funding we received from the CAN’d Aid Foundation through their Crush It Crusade recycling program. Our original equipment, purchased in 2015, was also funded by CAN’D Aid, and we are very grateful for their support of our work.

Picture yourself at the UFO parade.

    

  

 You get something to eat and then look for a place to stash the trash. What goes where?  It’s simple!!
~~
Items that can be recycled go here!
     
 Items that can be composted to help enrich the soil go here!
  
And the rest is trash and ends up in the landfill.
This is great!! Everyone is learning how to reduce their trash and our City will be greener!  We’ll be there to help and if you would like to join the team, we need volunteers for a few hours at each event. Thanks!

With the Right Attitude and a Plan

Located in the middle of some of the most productive and respected wine country in the world, McMinnville celebrates often if not continuously the amazing depth and breadth of its Pinot Noir production.  Each year at the end of July the International Pinot Noir Celebration invades the Linfield College campus.GrandSeminar_graphicsm ipnc

This event draws over 1200 visitors from around the world. This year they paid $125 or $250 for two a la carte events or $1295 for the entire weekend.  The Celebration is sold out; this is a prestigious event beloved by oenophiles and many people return year after year.

Not only do the celebrants return, but so do most volunteers. To keep an major event like the IPNC running smoothly, a great deal of planning takes place and volunteers are encouraged and appreciated. The activities start early with a pre Thank You dinner just for volunteers. With free wine of course.  Meals are also offered to volunteers throughout the event so no one goes hungry…and yes, there is plenty of wine if you want.

A successful event planner knows that waste management has to be carefully arranged in order for the grounds and buildings to stay clean and the celebrants not aware of any “dirtiness”.  We’ve all been to indoor and outdoor programs where garbage cans overfilled and messes were unattractive.  You can use how trash is handled as a measuring tool to rate management of an event.

A few years ago Zero Waste  McMinnville started working with the planners at IPNC and the experience has just gotten better and better.  In 2015, the total amount of trash that was collected was  1192  pounds. Of that over 943 pounds, or  79 percent of all trash, were diverted from the landfill. Mostly bottles. Obviously, if there is wine to be served, there will be empty bottles to recycle.

Last year  over 1267 pounds of trash was generated with  74 percent diverted from the landfill. This year was even bigger and better and I don’t know the numbers yet but I’ll explain why I can feel sure of that.

The people planning IPNC understand there is a wonderful conservative concept in aiming for zero waste. Conservation of our environment is a goal they hold dearly as they encourage the enjoyment of the wines that are produced right here in our beautiful Willamette Valley. Conservation of healthy farmland which not only produces wine grapes, but also hazelnuts, grass seed, landscaping plants, and so much more. Conservation of our visual landscape that might, in other places, not be protected from suburban development.

IMG_2482
Tuna appetizer

One of the volunteer positions is to assist during the lunches. The 3-course lunches serve local foods as much as possible with chefs from restaurants in the Northwest.  The setting under the towering oak trees with large umbrellas scattered around keeps the grove cool for the midday meal.  Tables were covered with linen and set with cloth napkins. China and various sizes of crystal complete the place settings.IMG_2473

IMG_2485For each course, servers quickly provided plates of food and later, removed the place setting.  They brought the dirty plates to a sorting station where all food waste was scraped into bins, the dishes and silverware and glassware loaded in trays to go to one of the campus building’s kitchens to wash. The food waste was removed by Zero Waste volunteers and then taken to a large collection area, out of sight of the festival attendees.  Zero Waste volunteers also collected paper products and other recyclables.  Trucks pulled up, also out of sight, to load and carry the dishes to the kitchen.  Linens were collected as the guests left for their afternoon activities, and those were sorted for proper washing. Zero Waste complete clean-up planning included scheduling removal of the food waste by Recology for Greenlands composting.

To one of the planners, there may have been glitches. But to me, as a Zero Waste McMinnville volunteer, it appeared like a well rehearsed dance.  Issues that arose were taken care of almost instantaneously. IMG_2483.JPGFor example, it was apparent the dish scraping area did not have enough containers for the glassware. Quickly reported and within 10 minutes, long before they were needed, many more trays arrived. As I mentioned above, volunteers repeat their offer of help over many tears, so they KNOW what is needed and yes, I really now believe when the director stated her appreciation at the pre-event dinner for the volunteers, that she understands;  she never could do it without all of us.

For each of us helping out, we had a pretty small and easy task. But when each of us did our task with an attitude of involvement and enjoyment, the major event  became a success.  So it is with our mission to help McMinnville become the first city in Oregon to achieve such a wonderful goal as less than 10% of our trash ends up at the landfill. If each person in Mac would get excited to be working on such an important factor in our environment while recognizing the effort is easy, then TOGETHER we can achieve Zero Waste.