At a time when being eco-conscious is more trendy than it’s ever been, it is still not uncommon to find the only source of water in a public space to be an overpriced container of bottled water. While often a result of convenience, a consumer’s desire for an alternative to other packaged beverages, or just a sales opportunity, it’s difficult to be ‘green’ when a fresh, cold, and tasty source of water isn’t available. We’re excited to announce that for our upcoming event, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to reduce their bottled water footprint and more at Local First Arizona’s (LFA) fall festival.
The 14th annual AZ Fall Fest is a free dog- and family-friendly celebration hosted at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Along with 200 local vendors, a beverage garden, food samples, a kid’s zone, and live entertainment, the festival provides sustainability features ensuring that all who attend help reduce the festival’s resource use.
First, a festival-goer at the AZ Fall Fest will encounter multiple water bottle refilling stations. Helene Tack, Program Development Director for Local First Arizona, remarked on the intention of the water refilling stations as, “not only to reduce waste, but to get our community used to bringing their own water bottle.”
Second, speaking of waste, stations will be available throughout the event with options for recycling and composting. To ensure these eco-conscious decisions are easy to make, the festival will provide volunteers to oversee each waste station to ensure each item goes into the proper bin. The volunteers will also educate residents why each item belongs there. Most attendees are extremely likely to throw away an item in the landfill trash bins, whether it’s a ball of aluminum that previously held a hot dog or the plastic packaging around a painting. That translates to thousands of attendees educated on proper waste diversion. As a result, the festival will be able to divert more waste, reduce the contamination of collected recyclables and compostables, and hopefully change festival-goer behavior.
Each year, the festival organizers at Local First Arizona aim to reduce the negative environmental impact of the festival. In 2016, the AZ Fall Fest diverted an impressive 68 percent (1,860 lbs) of all waste collected during the day-long festival and sent only 32 percent (875 lbs) of waste to the landfill. This was a 10 percent increase in diversion compared to the previous year. These accomplishments are thanks to LFA’s efforts along with City of Phoenix Zero Waste team, White Water, and Recycled City, LLC.
LFA is working to increase the festival’s diversion rate yet again for the 2017 festival. One improvement from the year before is the addition of more water refill stations, which are sponsored by a locally-owned water company, White Water. LFA also plans to add even more volunteers dedicated to the waste stations and will place clear signage on the compost and recycling bins. In order to improve the messaging on these signs, LFA has a compiled a list of items sold or supplied by their 200 vendors in order to anticipate the types of materials that will be brought to the waste stations. With this information, LFA plans to tailor their compost and recycling labels to include items they know will be thrown away at the festival.
Arizona local businesses exhibiting at the AZ Fall Fest are also encouraged to reconsider the types of materials they use and to switch to using compostable and/or recyclable items. The team has asked vendors to try their best to bring compostable items and to not bring Styrofoam to the AZ Fall Fest because it is neither compostable nor recyclable in Phoenix.
Come out and see these sustainable efforts in person at the Arizona Fall Fest and don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle! It’s just one more way to use water more wisely. And, speaking of that topic, Water – Use It Wisely, Arizona’s “local” water conservation campaign, will have a booth with lots of great water-saving information to share as well as portable dog water bowls you can also fill at the water stations. Find all the details at localfirstaz.com/fall-festival.
From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this blog, Alyssa Hagerbrant, is a special projects intern with Local First Arizona (LFA). She is an advocate for urban sustainability and supports diversion and environmental education efforts in the US.
ABOUT LOCAL FIRST ARIZONA
Founded in 2003 by Executive Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is a community and economic development organization working to strengthen local economies. LFA educates consumers about the interconnectedness of the economy, trains small businesses to be more effective and more competitive, helps larger Arizona businesses and institutions tell their story as champions of Arizona, and creates programs and events that make it fun and easy to discover local businesses and buy local. Visit www.localfirstaz.com for more information and a directory of more than 3,000 locally owned businesses.