One step at a time
At the end of last year, I joined the board of The Village Project, a small nonprofit in Bay Village whose mission is to bring the community together through a common cause. That cause is making and delivering meals to local families who have a family member fighting cancer.
One of Village Project’s fundraisers is called Project Pedal, in which participants choose from a few different bike routes around Bay Village to ride. The event this year was held at Cahoon Park on Saturday, June 14, as part of Destination Bay, and it was a success!
A few weeks ago I asked the event coordinator if we could talk about ways to reduce waste for Project Pedal. My main goal was to stop the distribution of single-use water bottles, and encourage participants to bring their own and refill at Cahoon.
The Village Project agreed to not distribute the 700 water bottles they usually give away during the event, and instead provide large water coolers filled with ice water for filling reusable bottles and compostable cups for people who did not bring one. Additionally, Cahoon Park also has a permanent water bottle refilling station for anyone who needed a refill.
The Village Project also provided fruit for participants (apples, oranges and bananas). To reduce food waste ending up in the landfill, we hired Rust Belt Riders to drop off large composting bins and pick them up after the event for industrial composting. We were able to prevent a large amount of the compostable cups and food waste from entering the landfill during this event!
We were able to catch it all? No, of course not. It is still a new concept for people to separate their waste at an event like that, but I personally did not hear one person complain about it, and neither did any of my other volunteers.
The reason I called this column “one step at a time” is because there was an insurance agency booth at the event that was passing out plastic water bottles that I did not know would be there, preventing us from totally phasing out single-use plastic at the event. However, the Village Project didn’t pass out their usual 700 bottles! One step at a time …
In the end, the participants were all very receptive and supportive of the waste reduction efforts at Project Pedal. There were many people very interested in the composting we were doing at the event. The water bottles were not missed and I can only imagine that clean up after the event was much easier without plastic bottles all over the place! If you are planning an event, please consider ways to reduce waste. Take it one step at a time, every step you take helps.