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Strolling of the Heifers and WSWMD Plan for Zero Waste

Last year’s parade and festival diverted 60% of its waste from landfill disposal!

This year’s goal is to reach 75%!

 

WSWMD Event Zero Waste Stations on the Brattleboro Common for Strolling of the Heifers Slow Living Expo. Courtesy photo.

The 18th Annual Strolling of the Heifers weekend celebrates local agriculture and food, attracting thousands of residents and visitors to the Friday evening festival, Saturday morning parade, and all-day Slow Living Expo at the Brattleboro Common, and Sunday Tour de Heifer dirt road bicycle ride and Farm Tours. The Stroll’s festivities feature hundreds of vendors, exhibitors, and entertainers. A new theme is selected each year and participants in the parade are encouraged to decorate their parading heifers, horses, and floats to reflect this year’s theme, “Farmers Are Our Heroes.”

Such a large event generates a considerable amount of trash and recyclable materials, and Strolling of the Heifers organizers partner with Triple T Trucking, Windham Solid Waste Management District (WSWMD), Elm City Compost Initiative (ECCI), and lots of volunteers to conduct a “Zero Waste” event (or darn close!). Through the Zero Waste effort, bottles, cans, and cardboard are collected for recycling; food scraps and paper are composted; the remainder is trash.

Cathy Jameson, Solid Waste Program Director for Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said,  “Strolling of the Heifers is a model for other community and private events. The Town of Brattleboro is leading Vermont with its residential recycling and composting program, which diverts 65% of materials from landfill disposal, and it’s great to see this large public event having similar success.”

Last year’s Strolling events reached a 60% recycling rate, diverting from landfill disposal 500 pounds of cardboard, 360 pounds of other recyclables, and 740 pounds of food scraps and soiled paper that was transformed into Brattlegrow Compost at the WSWMD compost facility in Brattleboro. Cardboard was baled and sold by WSWMD with other recyclables hauled to Casella Waste’s processing facility in Rutland, Vermont. Triple T donates recycling collection and trash disposal from Casella Waste’s Coventry landfill, 160 miles north of Brattleboro!

To assist with accomplishing even greater diversion from landfill, a new partner has joined the Zero Waste team, Elm City Compost Initiative (ECCI), a progressive company offering subscription collection of food scraps to residents and businesses in Keene and surrounding towns. ECCI tips their food scraps at WSWMD’s composting facility and returns Brattlegrow compost to its customers.

WSWMD provides 18 zero-waste stations for the Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Expo and, working with ECCI, provides staff and volunteers to service the stations and assist participants in sorting out their recyclables and compostables to ensure the collected materials are free from trash.

Strolling of the Heifers’ Zero Waste program reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfilling food waste, saves on the cost of trash disposal, and complies with Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law. This year’s goal is to reach 75% landfill diversion!  For more information, contact Bob Spencer, WSWMD, director@windhamsolidwaste.org or 802-257-0272, or Erin O’Connor, Strolling of the Heifers Executive Director at erin@strollingoftheheifers.com or 802-246-0982.

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