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The Near-Zero Circle

Call me a geek. But I’m just as excited about seeing how Rock the Green will pull off Near-Zero Waste as I am about hearing the music! I’m somewhat aware of all the technological, scientific, biological, environmental, cooperative feats involved (because I have to write about it) but it’s going to be really cool to see it all put into action.

Imagine a full-day event where garbage bins aren’t overflowing with plastic water bottles, Styrofoam containers – OR – gross bits of food! You got it. All food scraps will be contained, removed and composted.

To accomplish this, Rock the Green pulled together a team of professionals from several industries, who together, developed a sophisticated near-zero system. It is the first of its kind at an event of this size. And you can help make it successful…

Here is a basic rundown on how it will work:

  • Concert-goers will throw all food waste into sink stations with commercial disposal units that InSinkErator has built for the event

  • The ground food (“slurry”) will be held in grey water holding tanks sourced by Rock the Green

  • Transfer trucks provided by Veolia Environmental Services will suck up the slurry and transport it

  • The slurry will be delivered to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and converted into Milorganite fertilizer

  • The Milorganite will be used to fertilize the concert grounds at Veteran’s Park and other Milwaukee area parks

So why bother going through all this for a little bit of food waste that will eventually break down anyway? Here are just some of the reasons:

  • Food waste decomposing in dumpsters creates odors, attracts pests and serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Food waste represents 16% of all waste being dumped into landfills. Bacteria from these decomposing foods produce harmful elements, which are a source of groundwater contamination.

  • Throwing food scraps into food disposers rather than throwing them away along with their containers makes the recycling process of the containers cleaner and more efficient.

  • Why let food go to waste when it can be recycled? As mentioned above, the slurry can be returned to the Earth in the form of fertilizer.

  • Some wastewater facilities are even able to convert the methane gas emitted from slurry into an energy source.

So while you are grooving to the music on the 18th, go ahead and eat and drink to your heart’s content, knowing that it was all sourced thoughtfully and will be disposed of responsibly!

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