Celebrate Davis! Zero Waste

About 10,000 people are expected to gather at Community Park next Thursday to attend Celebrate Davis! an event sponsored by the Davis Chamber of Commerce that features over 100 food and vendor booths, live music, a family fun zone, and ends with a fireworks display.

As someone who is striving to reduce that amount of waste I’m responsible for generating I was excited to learn that this year the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Davis are teaming up to help make Celebrate Davis! A Zero Waste Event.

For starters, organizers are requesting that food vendors use recyclable –or even better- compostable serving ware and to avoid using expanded polystyrene containers (Styrofoam) and individual packages of condiments.

Business’ and organizations are also being asked to limit their giveaways to environmentally friendly options like reusable bags, pencils made from recycled paper, or seed packets.

In order to help participants maximize their waste diversion waste stations will be set up through out Community Park.

Each station will have 3 bins. One for recycling, one for compostable materials, and one for trash.

Trying to figure out which container something like your corndog stick should go into can be confusing. To address this all three bins will have signs attached to them with graphics that detail what types of items should be placed in which bin. A roving bin monitor will also be present to help answer questions like, “Is this disposable fork the compostable kind or the recyclable kind?”

Here is a preview of the choices participants will have and some cliff notes about what should go where:

RECYCLING BIN:  This bin is for all plastic, aluminum, and glass. Davis Waste Removal accepts all rigid plastic for recycling. This includes, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic bowls and plates, straws, and beverage lids.

Glass bottles and aluminum foil, cans, and trays can be placed in this bin.

COMPOSTING: A large amount of the waste generated at big events like Celebrate Davis can be composted. Besides food waste -including meat and diary- virtually anything derived from plants or animals can added to the composting bin. This includes paper plates, cups and napkins, other food soiled paper, paper towels, milk cartons, pizza boxes, waxed cardboard, popsicle and yes even your corn dog stick.

LANDFILL: There are some items that cannot be recycled or composted that will need to be sent to the landfill, these include diapers, Mylar bags (shiny bags)- the kind that chips and candy bars come in, and juice or milk boxes.

While recycling is a good alternative to the landfill my ultimate goal is to eliminate the use of single use products when ever possible.

So, besides making sure that any waste I generate ends up in the correct bin, I’m also looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste I’ll ultimately need to sort.

My plan includes bringing our own usable water bottles, and if I’m really organized our own plates, utensils, and napkins.

An easier way of reducing waste, that requires little effort, is accessing the need for disposable items that are offered to me and turning down anything that isn’t necessary.

For instance, do I need that drink holder, those extra napkins, that lid and straw for my lemonade, that cardboard tray or bag to carry my food? Turning down the items I find unnecessary is a simple way of reducing my waste and the best part is, no remembering or pre-planning is required.

While working to reduce waste on a small scale I’m happy to see diversion efforts, like the ones planned for Celebrate Davis, happening on such a large one. These efforts not only result in waste reduction at the events themselves but they also serve as a valuable public outreach and educational tool and the Chamber hopes that their efforts with this event can serve as model for future large special events in the City of Davis.

For all these reasons I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Davis for the work they have put into making Celebrate Davis a Zero Waste Event.

I’m looking forward to spending the evening enjoying the food, fun, and festivities, and at end of it hopefully I will remember to bring in and wash those plates, utensils and napkins.


Celebrate Davis! will take place Thursday May 15  from 5:30-10:00 PM at Community Park. 


About Michelle Millet

Michelle is a 25-year resident of Davis. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Natural Resource Commission and sits on the Executive Boards of the Explorit Science Center and Davis Bicycles! Michelle writes periodic columns for the Davis Enterprise and maintains a blog about her family's efforts to live a zero-waste lifestyle, and works as a part time substitute teacher. Michelle and her husband Mitch live in South Davis with their 11-year old daughter Emi, their 9-year old son Drew, plus their 2 dogs, and 6 chickens.

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