Chicago Music Fest Goes “Green” with Recycling Initiative

A music festival over the weekend of July 27-28 in the Wicker Park community just outside of Chicago, IL, not only featured great tunes, but also an educational experience on the value of recycling programs. The Wicker Park Fest hosted more than 70,000 people in July and teamed up with Bright Beat, an organization specializing in implementing large-scale sustainability strategies, to ensure attendees not only enjoyed the music, but also did a little good for the environment. Bright Beat focused on educating attendees on their ability to recycle products such as foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.

In order to spread the word about local recycling efforts, Bright Beat staffed the music festival with “Eco Educators” at 50 different cup-recycling stations. Through this technique, the team helped festival attendees recycle more the 16,000 cups – an item that was available in abundance – throughout the weekend of events. According to Bright Beat principal Stephanie Katsaros, consumers often are not educated on which items can be recycled, so they shy away from recycling altogether. Katsaros states, “Many people are unsure of which plastic products are recyclable, such as the cups at Wicker Park Fest… By implementing a program to help people to recycle this product at a huge festival like this one, we are reducing waste in our landfills and educating the public about recycling, composting and the benefits of resource conservation.”

The collected materials were sent to Plastic Recycling, Inc. in Indianapolis, where they will be processed and recycled into new consumer materials such as picture frames and industrial spools. The Wicker Park Fest recycling program was funded by Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area No. 33, a taxing district that helps keep area neighborhoods clean, and allows for educational opportunities such as this one.

Michigan-based Dart Container Corporation is another institution encouraging individuals and businesses to recycle foam products. The company has launched several programs to do just that. The CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak programs, for example, promote the recycling of single-use foam cups. Dart’s CARE program provides users with a device to compress foam waste to a fraction of its original size. The compressed foam is purchased by manufacturers for use in the production of new items.

Source: Bucktown-Wicker Park Patch

Foam Recycling