What started out about eight years ago as an effort by a village committee to minimize trash generated by the Pleasantville Music Festival has turned into a full-scale campaign to make it a waste-free day.
This goal of PleasantvilleRecycles for the 14th annual festival this Saturday at Parkway Field is to improve upon last year’s results. The 2017 festival saw 1,980 pounds of compostable items and 610 pounds of recyclables collected and potentially diverted from the regular garbage.
Sharon AvRutick, co-chair of the PleasantvilleRecycles Zero Waste Team, said the initiative at the festival began very informally with just a few people but has since transformed into a major project. After the first year, friends and volunteers were asked to help and the amount of material collected has sharply increased, she said.
“It’s sort of what you see at other types of events now, but to think we were on the cutting edge,” AvRutick said. “We were pretty early.”
For this year’s festival there will be six stations scattered around the grounds, each with three different types of receptacles – one for recyclable bottles and other containers, another for compostable materials such as food scraps and a third one for conventional trash.
To make sure the public discards the items into the appropriate bins, each station will be staffed by volunteers who will assist festival-goers in separating their waste, AvRutick said. There will be three stations on the main field: one on either side of the chill tent, which has been set up over the past few years to provide music fans with shade, and another in the food area.
Another two stations will be placed in the beer and wine garden, where there are also two food vendors. The final state will be located backstage for the bands and festival volunteers and staff and where a large volume of waste is generated.
AvRutick said there will be banners and flags erected at the stations to help the public identify where they are located. Once the crowd sees what the volunteers and the village is trying to accomplish, people have been receptive to complying, she said.
“As volunteers we share information with the concert-goers. They’re finding that their own recycling skills are doing better at home,” AvRutick said.
The festival also coordinates with vendors when the day is coming to a close to donate any leftover food to a local shelter.
Another component of the zero-waste initiative is the cold water stations that will also be available at the festival. AvRutick said attendees should bring reusable water bottles or containers, which will cut down on recyclables. It would also be an important service should the day turn out to be sunny and hot.
AvRutick said along with the volunteers, the Pleasantville Department of Public Works are the heroes of the day, helping them achieve their goals
The Zero Waste Team has helped the public become more environmentally aware, including having many students inform adults on recycling issues.
“It has been overwhelmingly positive,” AvRutick said. “It’s just been so wonderful to see in a few different ways.”