Zero Waste

Our Zero Waste Mission

The Same Old People are committed to making the North Country Fair a landmark sustainable event.  In 2011, we signed a Zero Waste Pledge to make significant steps for the Fair become a Zero Waste event.  The Fair partnered with Zero Waste Humboldt and began working with vendors and attendees to make our event a healthier one.

Accomplishments

  • Food vendors agree to provide customers with only compostable foodware. We work with vendors prior to our event to ensure they understand our expectations and share
    our commitment to a Zero Waste event.
  • In 2016 we began delivering compostable materials to The Local Worm Guy.
  • We encourage festival attendees to bring their own foodware, especially refillable cups for beer. We even offer free raffle tickets as incentives!
  • No water bottles are sold by any of the vendors.

If you have ideas, suggestions or are another fair working towards Zero Waste– please reach out to use at NCFZeroWasteCrew@gmail.com.

» Read more about our Zero Waste efforts

Challenges

The North Country Fair is a two-day event right in the center of town with permeable border both day and night. The fair has staff that work each of the corners of the main plaza to ensure that alcohol is not coming in or out but there is no restriction of non-festival containers coming in (such as disposable coffee cups, to-go with plastic liners, diapers, booze bottles from overnight campers on the grounds).

In 2016, the town recycling center closed.  There were many reasons why this was idea- it was very close to the fair and also open during the weekend. In previous years, the Zero Waste crew was able to easily drop off pre-sorted items at the collection center throughout the weekend.  We have not come up with an ideal alternative. It currently seems best to sort it on site and deliver it personally to the closest recycling center after the fair.

Compostable beer cups are a constant conversation by not just for our fair but all fairs that are trying to improve the sustainability of their event. These cups are treated as disposable — often because they resemble disposable cups and add up not just in number but in mass unless sorted and stacked).  There is a great dialogue on Planet Bluegrass’ website where the they discuss the various and ever-changing options in the world of compostable cups. The goal that we have chosen to move toward is not yet another compostable beer cup option but REUSABLE cups. The North Country Fair encourages festival-goes to bring their own beer cup (we even give you raffle tickets so that you can win great items from the festival vendors).  We see this as the only real answer to this difficult question.

Goals

The goal that we are striving towards every year is using reusables, exclusively, rather than single-use compostable items.  California retail food code 114353 mandates that only single use items be used for temporary food service. We feel that this is an antiquated regulation and that with proper County-approved processes that we can ensure a clean dish washing process that is a worthy model for other California fairs and festivals. This is an on-going conversation with Humboldt County and we plan to provide updates here for other festivals that are struggling with the same issue.

If you have ideas, suggestions or are another fair working towards Zero Waste– please reach out to use at NCFZeroWasteCrew@gmail.com.

For more info on how to volunteer and help out with our Zero Waste efforts click here.

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