Sopris Sun

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Dandelion Day turning into a trash-free event

By Lynn Burton
Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Achieving 100 percent recycling and composting, and zero trash, at events such as Dandelion Day may not be possible as long as there are babies that must be diapered, and folks who tote in non-recyclable items such as waxed paper, Styrofoam, Magic Markers and a few other others.

“We can’t rule on what people bring in,” said EverGreen ZeroWaste co-owner Alyssa Reindel.

Diapers and Starbucks-style coffee cups are a sample of what ends up in EverGreen ZeroWaste’s actual trash bins, which sit next to its compost and recycling bins. But 95 percent of what gets hauled out of Sopris Park at Saturday’s Dandelion Day will wind up in Pitkin County’s compost and recycling program, which is set up to reduce the overall trash flow at the county’s landfill.

Dandelion Day is organized by the Carbondale Environmental Board and volunteers. EverGreen ZeroWaste is an event sponsor.

Beyond celebrating the town flower, Dandelion Day also promotes sustainability in its many forms, including recycling and composting.

Alyssa and her husband, Dave, founded EverGreen ZeroWaste in 2011. Their company’s website (evergreenzerowaste.com) lists their four services as: compost collection, green events (such as Dandelion Day, Strawberry Day, the upcoming Crown Mountain summer festival and more), providing compostable disposables (such as utensils), and education/outreach.

Saturday in the park, look for Team EverGreen volunteers in green T-shirts to be helping out.

Alyssa said Dandelion Day organizers contact each of the many vendors to let them know what is, and is not, allowed at their booths. Vendors are allowed to use plastic grocery bags, and food vendors must provide compostable utensils for food (they are made from corn).

“It’s all about pre-event coordination,” Alyssa said.

Dandelion Day goers can also rest assured that the items they dispose of in compost and recycling bins will also wind up where they are supposed to wind up (aka: not in the Pitkin County landfill itself).

And if you’re wondering, those beer and cocktail cups in the KDNK beer garden are recyclable.

Worldwide influence?

Alyssa said EverGreen ZeroWaste will work two Front Range events this summer; its Roaring Fork Valley list includes the Aspen Ideas Festival, which attracts a worldwide audience.

She told The Sopris Sun that Aspen Ideas Festival participants are more likely to engage in a thoughtful conversation with her than, for example, at Dandelion Day.

The reason?

“They want to learn and take something back to their community.”

EverGreen ZeroWaste works closely with Aspen Ideas Festival caterers, volunteers and staff members.

“They (staff) have been really enthusiastic to work with us.”


Published in The Sopris Sun on May 11, 2017.