Zero Waste Countryside at the Howe Meadow Countryside Farmers' Market



The Countryside Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow is going Zero Waste!

With the introduction of Zero Waste Countryside, our goal is to divert 85% of market-generated waste away from landfills by the end of the 2018 Howe Meadow Countryside Farmers' Market season. Diverting waste from landfills requires a big change, replacing non-recyclable plastic, styrofoam, and plastic-lined paper products with compostable alternatives. The small businesses that sell ready-to-eat food at the Countryside Farmers' Market have worked hard to find compostable and more eco-conscious products to serve their food at the market. Market visitors will compost dishes, utensils, cups, etc. with the help of Zero Waste Countryside Volunteers at the new Zero Waste Station.

What is zero waste and why is it important?

Zero waste means reducing the amount of waste going to a landfill by as much as current technologies allow while sending diverted material somewhere to be used, repurposed, or recycled. Zero waste emerged as a concept when the negative environmental and human health impacts of traditional waste systems were discovered. When food or paper scraps are put in a landfill, the anaerobic breakdown of organics releases potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is also problematic when plastics are disposed of in landfills or end up in waterways. Plastics stay generally the same for a very long time due to their chemical structure. However, both plastics and styrofoam eventually breakdown into smaller and smaller pieces, small enough to enter the bloodstream and tissue of aquatic animals, enabling the toxins to move up through the food chain to humans. Though it is difficult to reduce the amount of pollutants and plastic toxins already in the environment, it is possible to stop future waste from entering this system. By donating still edible food, composting food scraps/organic products, and recycling plastics, the Countryside Farmers' Market is striving to divert 85% of market-generated waste from the landfill.

Where is the Zero Waste Station?

Market visitors will find the Zero Waste Station at the beginning of the center row of vendors. In addition to the compost, recycling, and small trash receptacles, visitors can learn more about compost and recycling resources in our community. The station will also have a Zero Waste Countryside Scoreboard, where volunteers, vendors, and visitors can follow along as the market gets closer to an 85% diversion rate!

What can visitors do to be a part of Zero Waste Countryside?

So many things! If you buy ready-to-eat food at the market, stop by the Zero Waste Station to learn where your waste will go after the market (hint: it won't be going to a landfill!). A great way to reduce waste is to bring your own reusable shopping bags to the market. You can also bring your own reusable mug to fill with coffee or tea from the market and a reusable water bottle rather than plastic bottled water. Small changes in everyday habits can have a big impact on your waste footprint! One of the goals of Zero Waste Countryside is to educate visitors so that they can make sustainable changes in their everyday lives, not just at the Countryside Farmers' Market.

If you are interested in volunteering, becoming an Zero Waste Corporate Sponsor, or learning more about Zero Waste Countryside, email Annie Preston at