OCF Coordinators Aim To Limit Waste, Support Local During Event

Jul 12, 2018

Supporting local growers, and demonstrating sustainability permeate much of the Oregon Country Fair. There’s a heavy emphasis on not producing or leaving much waste on the grounds. KLCC’s Brian Bull talked to a fair official about how well they’ve managed to reduce environmental impacts.

A wooden blackbird is the landmark for one of the OCF's composting and recycling sites.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

For starters, organizers like to promote the bus lines that come out to the fair, to help reduce exhaust and other emissions from cars.

And then there’s the pre-fair kitchen.  Jessica Metteer, a back-up manager for the event, says that feeds hundreds of volunteers.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“That pre-fair kitchen is able to put out 30-35,000 meals, that’s three deadlines a day, where they’re serving food, they get their counts a few hours before the meal for how many volunteers are coming," she tells KLCC.

"They go through 1500 lbs. of locally sourced meat, and over 10,000 lbs. of locally sourced and organic food.”

Metteer walks me over to a kiosk being set up, under a wooden structure resembling a blackbird. She says fair staff have been very effective in diverting a lot of waste from the landfill, due to their recycling crew and volunteers.  The standard? 60 tons once the fair is done and over.

“On top of those 60 tons that are diverted from the landfill, that’s all recyclables…they’re able to complete or collect about 50 tons of compost, 10 tons of food grade compost, which is an important thing for us, and they hand sort about 110,000 pieces of refundable.  That’s the aluminum cans, and that kind of thing.  And that’s all done by volunteers, amazing volunteers that come in and get all the barrels set, which they are doing right now.”

The Oregon Country Fair is expected to draw 45,000 visitors this weekend.  For work crews, that’s potentially a lot of compost and recycling to collect and sort.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.