Normally you get tens of thousands of people in one building over a weekend, you figure on a lot of garbage. At the Greenfest here in San Francisco (coming to Seattle in April), you get a glimpse into the future of trash.
It’s called compost. Inside the concourse are big bins for throwaways marked liquids, recyclables and compostables. Last year’s Greenfest managed a 96 percent success rate in keeping garbage out of landfills. This year they’re aiming higher.
Here’s how: All food is natural, much of it is organic and/or vegan, and there’s no meat (or animal milk). So all uneaten food is compostable. So are plates, cups, bowls and so on, most of them paper or a similar fiber-based product. As for utensils, they’re potato or corn. You’re done eating, you don’t have to separate out the plastics from animal byproducts and the dishware. It all goes into the compost bin.
Much of this has to do with screening of vendors by Greenfest organizers. The festival was founded, and remains spearheaded, by Global Exchange, which has done more for Fair Trade than just about any organization extant. Greenfests are billed as “parties with a purpose” to promote environmental, social justice and community causes around the world.
So what’s to keep this year’s Greenfest from reaching 100 percent sustainability — no landfill junk at all? “Well, there’s these things,” said one of the trash-monitors, holding out an energy bar wrapper. They may look and feel like paper, but they have foil liners, sometimes with plastic sealers as well. Their ingredients may boast organic this and natural that, but their containers are anathema. Maybe by the time the festival makes it up to the Convention Center April 12-13, even those wrappers will be history.
Random sightems: More people are bringing their families to Greenfest, so this year an entire section was set aside for “Green Kids”… I didn’t see any on display but ran across a card for Portland’s Natural Burial Company showing off the “Ecopod,” a coffin made of recycled paper. Fine for you and me, but would this make sense for Republicans — I mean, with all the toxins in their system?… You’ve seen electric bikes, you’ve seen foldable bikes. Now there are electric foldable bikes, tipping the scales at 37 pounds. That sounds lighter than it is, but for their intended use you’re probably not going to be racking up e-f-ables. The speed and range are variable depending on cargo and your BMI… I didn’t go hear him, but the line for Deepak Chopra stretched across and down the street more than a city block…
My wife Cecile, who was on the program here and is involved in the Seattle event planning, came up with a new rallying cry for localism. Talking about how we Phinney Ridgers had helped defeat the Zoo garage and turn relentless garage booster David Della out of office, Cecile said our new motto (inspired by Jesus in “The Big Lebowski”) is “You Don’t Phuck with Phinney!” Despite the fact there’s no Phinney in ‘Phrisco, it got a big laugh.