NMC BBQ closing the gap on zero waste

Posted on May 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Five years ago, Traverse City’s biggest picnic, the annual Northwestern Michigan College Barbecue decided to strive to become a zero waste event, with all of the waste from the event either being recycled or composted, and none going into a landfill. Within two years, the efforts of Randy Smith, Timothy Young and countless day-of the BBQ volunteers had the percentage of recycled and composted material at a very impressive 90 percent.

The 2014 NMC BBQ was the first year that locally owned American Waste became involved in trash handling at the event, and according to Smith, more than 99 percent of all waste from the BBQ was recycled or composted.

Smith wanted to be sure to thank the “great volunteers at the 10 recycling stations” which included the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative, Wayne Schmidt, Isaiah Wunsch, Carter’s Compost, NMC faculty and staff, Stella Young and many, many others.

Timothy Young and Food For Thought once again provided the composting site.

Smith said that American Waste,”really stepped it up this year and made it possible to close that last ten percent gap in recycling for the barbecue.  American’s support plays a big role–we use three major pieces of equipment and 60 crucial collection carts.”

He credited the signage at each of the ten recycling stations and the volunteers with making it easy for everyone to understand how to properly sort their refuse.

“When folks like that pull together like a great team, and there is great leadership to try new things like we have from the barbecue board and Brad Olsen, it makes a huge difference,” Smith said.

“Our crew has already made plans to close the last tiny gap to fully achieve zero waste.”

The Numbers

 Materials: Pounds Percent
Cardboard 1120 10%
Compost 7820 72%
Plastic & Can Recycle 1600 15%
Grease 60 .6%
Coffee Grounds 36 .3%
Animal feed 120 1%
Trash 43 .4%
Total 10,799 100%

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