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Organizers aim for 'zero waste' at Salmonfest

Phil Gibbs/Creative Commons License

Salmonfest this weekend in Ninilchik promises to be the largest ever, with a fourth stage and 70-plus acts entertaining a crowd that could grow to more than 6,000 revelers. 

With all the refreshments sure to be consumed over the three days of "fish, love and music," there will literally be tons of garbage.

But this year, festival cosponsor Cook InletKeeper is trying something different. Carly Weir, InletKeeper's executive director, says festivalgoers will not see any trash cans sitting all by themselves.

"With each trash can will be a composting bin and a couple of recycling bins. And we'll actually have some folks in real bright green tie-dyes standing behind the zero-waste stations so that they can help direct people where to put materials and answer questions," Weir said. "And we really think what's possible that when we start separating out our recyclables and compostables, there isn't actually a lot of trash that's headed for the landfill."

To prepare for the zero-waste push, Weir said it's taken a bit of preplanning and partnering with others.

"Everyone from the 4-H club in the Soldotna area, who's going to help us with our morning sweeps. We've partnered with Regroup, which is a recycling advocacy group located in Soldotna. We've partnered with, of course, the Central Peninsula Landfill and our local hauler, Moore and Moore, to make all of this possible," she said. "And then we're really excited to partner with Maddie's Farm, where all the compostable materials that we collect at the festival are going to go to be composted and turned into soil amendments and used in local agriculture projects."

Salmonfest has not kept track of its waste stream volume before, but Weir said that will happen this year, and they are hoping for at least a 50 percent reduction in garbage going to the landfill.

Salmonfest starts Friday at the Ninilchik Fairgrounds.

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