Weekend Adventure #4 – American Folk Festival and Hurricane (tropical storm) Irene

I’m writing this blog post while sitting on a Concord Coach Lines bus on the way back to Boston from Maine (Yay for WiFi on buses, even if you are pretty slow most of the time).  I ventured up to Bangor again this weekend to go to the American Folk Festival which was great even though it was cut short by Irene. The Boston-Bangor trip by bus is about 4-4.5 hours not counting the commute to/from the South Station and it costs $66 round trip (if you use your old student ID).  It’s cheaper than paying for gas to drive that same distance and for me personally it’s less stressful because I get to sleep, eat, read, watch movies, watch YouTube videos, and even write blog posts.  I’ve heard that sleeping and/or updating your blog while driving is usually frowned upon.  My choice about a year ago to not have a car was mostly an economic one but the ecological benefits are obviously there as well.  Each one of these buses keeps 30-40 people from having to drive themselves.

The bus picking people up at the Portland, ME terminal with free pretzels and water, thanks guys, but maybe after no-landfill month I'll take you up on the free snacks.

The American Folk Festival was great; lots of blues, lots of irish music, and a whole lot of time spent in the dance tent.

Hot Club of Cowtown, the most amazing standup bass slapping I've ever heard, worthy of Victor Wooten for sure.

For the most part trying to live without trash wasn’t too hard, but there were a few surprises.  I had to avoid a few of the food vendors who were giving their food out in Styrofoam containers and I opted for the ones who used tinfoil instead (gyros hmmm delicious).  I had to ask the people behind the counter before I ordered what the food would come in.  Basically I spent a lot of time explaining my no-landfill experiment and looking like a huge hippy or some environmentally righteous yuppie from Boston, either way I received a lot of odd stares that said, “Relax dude, just take our styrofoam packages, eat our food, and go away.”  A few places had what looked like tinfoil but was actually wax-paper.  I wasn’t sure if I could recycle wax paper so I had to respectfully decline their food.  Saturday night, instead of paying $10 for some greasy festival food I stopped stopped by the Shaw’s across the street to get some sushi.

This picture was taken just before a homeless guy came up and tried to “show us something from his bag” no thanks dude, so we took off.  The sushi container turned out to be #6 plastic (Polystyrene, a form similar to Styrofoam) and it secretly had a packet of soy sauce in it, bummer.  I recycled the container but I am bringing back the packet of soy sauce to Boston to put in my trash Ziplock back home.

Interestingly, the waste management of the Folk Festival was run by the same group that did the Spartan Beast Race in Killington, Vermont (Weekend Adventure #1) Casella Waste Management.  They had bins everywhere promoting their zero-sort recycling efforts (zero-sort = everything-but-food and they take care of the details).

Check out the website shown in the image above Zerosort.com.  Casella is located in the Northeast U.S. and they use large mechanical sorters to go through your recyclable materials:

  • Disc screens for cardboard and paper
  • Eddy-current for aluminum
  • Magnets for tin
  • Optical sorters for paper, plastic, and aluminum
  • Screens for glass
Zero-sort is a pretty interesting concept because it makes recycling idiot-proof for the consumer and it seems to be successful for Casella as a business.  They cut the trash in the city of Worcester, MA by 42% and recently recycled 71% of the material at Earth Fest which had over 125,000 people.
In the end I am glad there are companies devoted to reducing incredible volumes of trash being sent to our landfills.  Also, my sushi/soy sauce packet experience just goes to show that in general when you’re eating out, the world won’t try to help you live without the landfill.

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2 Responses to Weekend Adventure #4 – American Folk Festival and Hurricane (tropical storm) Irene

  1. Did you eat all the wasabi?!?

  2. There was only like a dab of wasabi the size of a fingernail so it wasn’t too bad. Still not a fan of wasabi but at least I didn’t throw it away 🙂

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