In order to promote sustainable living and bring attention to many nonprofit organizations, the Zero Waste Committee, an Associated Students board, hosted its fourth annual Zero Waste Festival on Friday, Feb. 21.
The event intended to “help us better understand the impact of the waste we create every day and the importance of living sustainably,” Lea Miller, one of the festival’s planners, wrote in an email. It aimed to educate students on environmental issues and sustainable practices while promoting “fun and easy sustainable tips for students to incorporate at home,” its Shoreline event page stated.
The festival, held at Storke Plaza, featured over a dozen on-campus organizations and local businesses that are dedicated to reducing Goleta’s waste output. Live music and UCSB Adventure Programs’ iconic 26-foot climbing wall also made an appearance.
To capture the attention of attendees, many of the stands featured interactive activities designed to educate visitors. Associated Students (A.S.) Recycling challenged guests by offering a series of Velcro-clad waste items and asking them to sort them into trash, recycling and compost categories by sticking them onto designated sections.
A representative was also teaching audience members about some of the ongoing conservation efforts at UC Santa Barbara: “Compostable cups are only compostable on campus. Please don’t recycle or throw them away when you go home.”
Another stand, A.S. Department of Public Worms, set up a booth to teach visitors about food waste at UC Santa Barbara. This student-run organization prides itself on striving for a closed-loop food system, where all nutrients in food waste are recycled back into compost to support the growth of more food.
The A.S. Environmental Affairs Board prepared a booth to encourage eco-friendly habits and distribute facts regarding waste management at the school: “UC Santa Barbara fills four large garbage bins every hour. A huge fraction of the waste in these bins can be recycled and composted if students were just more careful.”
Several companies took this opportunity to advertise their products. Aveda, a Minnesota-based cosmetics company “founded on the art and science of pure flower and plant essences,” set up a stand for students to test their products.
San Francisco startup Chirps Chips also made an appearance at the festival. This company offered free samples of their high-protein, gluten-free and sustainably manufactured chips made of cricket flour.
“[Crickets] have more [vitamin] B12 than salmon, more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk,” the representative explained. An infographic on display demonstrated that crickets can be farmed with less than a fifth of the feed that goes toward raising beef and one-thousandth of the water necessary to produce whey.
Crossroads Trading, a thrift store located on Santa Barbara’s State Street, displayed a rack of second-hand clothes for attendees to browse. In an attempt to minimize the disposal of usable clothing, a representative explained that the store “will buy your clothes and give you 50% of its worth in store credit or 30% in cash.”
Over the past years, the Zero Waste Festival has consistently switched up its stands and attractions. Last year, the festival featured a bike-fixing workshop — courtesy of A.S. Bike Shop — and giveaways such as snacks from Trader Joe’s and compostable utensils. 2017’s festival featured Patagonia’s Worn Wear Wagon, a setup that instructed visitors on how to repair clothing.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that this was the third annual festival. This year’s was its fourth.
Correction: The 26-foot climbing wall belongs to UCSB Adventure Programs, not Excursion Club.