Organizers Want Arts Festival to be Zero Waste

DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands will pack Western Gateway Park this weekend for the Des Moines Arts Festival, and organizers want to make the large event easy on the environment.

Leaders want to make it a zero waste event by 2016. Production Manager James Bruton says, “We’ve incorporated it in the past, the sustainability aspect of the festival, but when you have a festival that has over 200,000 attendees, there’s a potential for a lot of waste to be generated.”

All food vendors are required to use compostable materials this year. You’ll find 17 stations set up with bins for composting, recycling and waste. Bruton says, “Our goal is to have volunteers stationed at each of those areas just to help educate people where to put those waste items.”

The festival will require 1,300 volunteers over the three days, and many are still needed to help with the sustainability initiatives. You can sign up on the Des Moines Arts Festival’s website.

Visitors will also notice a new wooden fence around the hospitality suite on the library lawn. Crews with Silent Rivers Design + Build created the fence with wood from ash trees removed from the city of Des Moines because of the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer. Chaden Halfhill says, “There’s all this ash wood that’s coming into the marketplace. It’s going to end up in the landfill, and so can we show a use for it.”

The Des Moines Arts Festival is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can check it out Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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