Posted Friday, September 20, 2019
To the editor:
Lee was even cleaner this year during this year’s Founders Weekend, as we approached our zero-waste goal. The big news was the drastic reduction in trash to the least ever during the Taste of Lee, a fraction of what we collected for recycling and composting, and the least amount produced for the entire weekend.
We collected 650-800 pounds of compostables and kept the amount of trash in the permanent bins along Main Street to a minimum. Our success stemmed from the cooperation of most food vendors, the efforts of volunteers, and the key role played by other local supporters. The Lee Chamber of Commerce and the Tri-Town Health Department again spread the word about the waste-reduction effort. Key to our success was Meadow Farm providing a roll-off and handling at no charge the compostable items we collected, and Daley & Sons, which provided bins for 12 stations plus a roll-off and did an extra pick up Saturday morning, also at no charge.
Committee members and volunteers staffed recycling-composting-trash stations during Friday’s Taste of Lee and Saturday’s events in the Park and the Lee Athletic Field. In the process they educated people about what items can be recycled and composted. Members also monitored public trash bins.
A key goal for Founders Weekend is to accommodate thousands of people downtown while keeping the streets and sidewalks clean. In addition to the stations we set up and staffed, committee members picked up litter downtown in advance, and Lee’s Department of Public Works staff cleaned up during the weekend. These efforts worked.
We can’t thank our volunteers enough. They were Lee residents Sal Angelo, Linda and David Buttery, Dale Drimmer, Ginny Willcox and Bruce Zarnoch; Mary Stucklen, from the Berkshire Environmental Action Team; Center for EcoTechnology Fellows Valeria Bridgewater, Meghan Klinker and Belen Rodriguez; Housatonic Valley Association staff member Alison Dixon; and Stephanie Blumenthal from Sheffield Saves. In addition, local businesses sent staff: Theodore Toothaker and David Graves from Northeast Paving, and Laurel Almgren, Justen Bartlett, Sadie Brighenti, Lorianna Eling, Jonathan Herbert, Kari-Jean Olson and Jake Stricof from Canna Provisions worked double shifts during the Taste of Lee — a huge contribution to our efforts.
We’ve already identified ways we can come closer to our zero-waste goal next year. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to promote waste reduction, composting, and recycling throughout the year, as well as sponsor our monthly and annual cleanups. To volunteer or get more information about our activities, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The writer is chairman of Lee Greener Gateway Committee.