For the first time in the event’s 33-year history, the 2019 Sights and Sounds of Christmas achieved zero-waste status, meaning that 10 percent or less of all the waste from the event was sent to the landfill.
“A goal like this is not achieved without lots of hard work, dedication and determination to make a difference,” said Community Enhancement Initiatives Manager Amy Kirwin, who leads the City’s Resource Recovery team. “Hundreds of volunteers donated time to this effort to help direct attendees and to sort waste when necessary.”
In 2017, the Sights and Sounds Board, comprised of community members and City staff, committed to becoming a zero-waste event. A coordinated strategic effort between the Board, the City of San Marcos Resource Recovery team and Texas State University’s H.E.A.T. organization (Human Environment Animal Team) led to new rules for the event that helped attain this goal.
Rules include requiring vendors and others contributing to the event to work with reusable or compostable materials whenever possible to minimize waste. The Board and City staff also installed eco-stations with recycling and composting containers to give attendees access to green waste receptacle alternatives.
“We began working toward this goal three years ago and are so excited about achieving a zero-waste event this year,” said Sights and Sounds Chair Tommy Curtis. “I’m proud of our team and the community for setting an example for environmental stewardship.”
Last year 83% of event waste was diverted from the landfill and the event was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Green Business Award.. This year, thanks to this concerted effort, 92.4%, or 19,460 out of 21,060 total pounds of waste was recycled or composted.
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