January 27, 2015
MADISON -- While the fairgrounds and midways of summer may seem a long way off, many summer festival organizers are already planning and laying the groundwork for event recycling success. An online toolkit from the Department of Natural Resources is helping event planners start new recycling efforts and build on last year's momentum.
The DNR's event recycling toolkit is available for free by searching recycling away from home on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov. The kit contains how-to guides, signs and other materials for print or download that helps make recycling away from home easy for event organizers, vendors and attendees.
"At fairgrounds and concert venues, beer tents and exhibition halls, even sporting events and private parties, Wisconsin residents typically look for a recycling bin, and are disappointed if they can't find one," said Brad Wolbert, DNR recycling and solid waste section chief. "This toolkit helps event organizers meet visitors' recycling expectations."
Wolbert added that recycling materials like clean cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans at public events and venues is required by state law and local ordinances, but starting or improving a recycling program also puts materials back to use and helps the economy, while also enhancing public opinion of the event and reducing its environmental impact.
The toolkit was inspired by recent event recycling successes in 2014. Wisconsin county fairs, July Fourth celebrations and dozens of other summer festivals last year reduced their waste costs and boosted the recovery of recyclable items, proving that a little planning goes a long way.
Organizers of the 2014 Sheboygan County Fair, for instance, started planning in January. By the time the fair opened in July, they had placed 40 low-cost recycling bins throughout the fair park, and during the fair weekend alone crews collected 5,100 pounds of plastic, aluminum, glass, cardboard and paper.
By starting to plan the fair's recycling efforts in advance, Sheboygan County was also able to save the fair's animal bedding and manure for local composting, re-sell 850 pounds of used fryer grease to bio-diesel producers and organize its first annual "Green Fair within the Fair," showcasing local businesses, farmers and non-profits with a vendors market and speaker series.
"Organizing effective recycling at these events is less daunting than it used to be," Wolbert said. "A number of event organizers have shown that it can be done effectively and efficiently. The DNR toolkit will help support these local efforts."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, 608-264-6286; Andrew Savagian, 608-261-6422