April and May usher in not only warmer weather but also some of the region’s largest festivals, footraces and fundraisers. The Pennsylvania Resources Council will work with many of them to collect waste and ensure recycling occurs at them.

The goal? Zero Waste events, an ongoing initiative of the PRC, a statewide environmental organization. Officials said since launching the Zero Waste program in 2009, PRC has prevented an immeasurable volume of waste from ever being produced and diverted 550 tons of material from landfills and limited the toxicity from discarded products to the state’s land, air and water.

PRC is seeking seasonal help in the Pittsburgh region to work for the program this spring, too.  

The effort begins as PRC partners with the Pittsburgh Marathon, Walk MS Pittsburgh and Millvale Music Festival among other large annual events. It strives to achieve waste minimization and diversion via a system that coordinates planning, logistics, vendor selection and on-site management.

“In addition to greening festivals and fundraisers, PRC offers commercial businesses, institutions and local governments across the state a wide variety of Zero Waste services, including technical assistance, audits and analysis,” PRC Executive Director Darren Spielman explained in a news release.

At Zero Waste events, PRC staff members serve as ambassadors to educate patrons and assist them with properly sorting waste to maximize diversion. On-site efforts result in diverting tons of material from landfills to become valuable compost and recycled products and create jobs in recovery and remanufacturing, according to the release.

“Event organizers work with our PRC team to pursue innovative waste reduction and management practices with an ultimate goal of diverting 90% or more material from landfill through a system of reuse, recovery, recycling and composting,” Chesapeake First, PRC Zero Waste events coordinator, said.  “At 28 events last year PRC’s Zero Waste efforts diverted 73,000 pounds of waste.”

Pennsylvania Resources Council’s Zero Waste program gives attendees the opportunity to recycle and compost at Kayafest in the Strip District. (Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council)

Spring PRC Zero Waste events in the region will include:

•  Walk MS Pittsburgh: April 16, Point State Park Downtown.

•  Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend: May 5-7, Downtown.

•  Pittonkatonk: May 13, Schenley Park, Oakland.

•  Millvale Music Festival: May 19-20, Millvale.

• Pour at the Park: May 20, South Park Fairgrounds.

• Kayafest: May 28, Kaya, Strip District.

According to Spielman, “The success and growth of PRC’s Zero Waste program is the result of a team effort, and we thank the many partners, funders, volunteers, supporters and individuals who have participated in our events over the years.  We invite those just learning of these important efforts to join us in 2023.”

Southwestern Pennsylvania residents can become part of that team as part-time seasonal Zero Waste event assistants who provide the in-field support.  Current contract opportunities pay $15 an hour and offer flexible scheduling April through October.  To view a “Green Team” job description and apply for a position, visit www.prc.org/careers.

Event organizers interested in PRC’s Zero Waste program, which includes event services, rental service, audits/analysis and technical assistance, can obtain information by visiting www.prc.org/programs/zwp.

Pennsylvania Resources Council’s Zero Waste program encourages recycling at Pittsburgh’s Independence Day celebration in Point State Park, Downtown. (Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council)

Helen is a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Contact her at hfallon@unionprogress.com.

Helen Fallon

Helen is a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Contact her at hfallon@unionprogress.com.