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Green Team lets no trash go to waste

Samantha PalGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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CARBONDALE – After a whole day manning the compost, recycle and trash bins at the Carbondale Mountain Fair on Saturday, Green Team volunteer Kelly Nelson had only gathered a few inches of nonbiodegradable waste in her trash bin.Many fair-goers sauntered up to the trash bin expecting to be able to ditch their plastic cups and utensils there. Nelson cheerily told them that those items were made of corn, so they could be composted.”It’s amazing how many people don’t realize how much you can compost,” Nelson said. But that’s what the Green Team volunteers are there for, to steer people in the right, environmentally sound, direction.Green Team organizers this year include Jason White, Mark Lacey, Mark Weinhold and Kelly’s sister, Bailey Nelson.

White volunteered at the Mountain Fair for two years before stepping up to help coordinate the Green Team this year.One of the Green Team’s goals is to school people on the benefits of using corn-based products and to persuade them to make changes in their lives, White said. They also just want to keep as much out of the landfill as possible.Volunteers stood at six stations, making sure that as much waste as possible was composted or recycled.”It’s an educational as well as a policing effort,” White said of the volunteers. For the first time this year, the Green Team contacted vendors for the Mountain Fair ahead of time to ask if they planned on using corn-based utensils. If they didn’t they were required to purchase them through the Green Team and Eco-Products in Boulder, White said.Last year the waste the Green Team collected at the fair made 25 yards of compost, and that was without all the corn products, so this year they should be able to collect much more, White said. The Green Team graphs out how much trash, compost and recyclable waste they collect to see how successful they are.

“We’re pretty geeky about it,” said White.Backstage at the fair, White proudly showed off the huge green Dumpster reserved for non-usable trash. With bags plopped in here and there, the bottom of the Dumpster was still visible on the second festival day. Bailey just smiled as she carried two light bags to add to the small collection of trash. The composting Dumpster next door to it was chock-full of soil ready items.White said they were modeling themselves after some of the greener bluegrass festivals in Colorado, and that each year they were getting better and better.This year about 50 volunteers donned Green Team T-shirts that had their motto, “Feed Your Soil,” stamped on the back. Volunteers even had a chance to win a blue New Belgium cruiser bike.



“They end up having a great time,” White said. “The dirtier you get the more fun you get out of it.”Nelson had driven up Saturday morning from Denver, the decision only partially influenced by her sister’s involvement. Nelson is environmentally occupied in Denver as well.”I personally would love to see something like this in Denver,” Nelson said.Back on Main Street, a yoga-pant-wearing fair-goer with a temporary butterfly tattoo on her forehead walked into a bustling coffee shop saying, “I hope they have soy here.”Of course they have soy. After all, this is Carbondale.Maybe next year she will wonder if they have corn coffee cups.


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