Executive Director, Renewable Energy Division, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Of all the wonderful fall fairs in New England, the Big E is the biggest! Held every year in West Springfield in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley, all of the New England states gather to show off their prize pumpkins, apple pies, maple syrup, and all the other things that make this such a great place to live.
But as you can imagine, a really big fair means a really big pile of garbage every year. This year, the staff from the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources went all out to ‘green up’ the fair. In addition to 225 recycling barrels for bottles and cans, they expanded their recycling program to include organic waste for the first time — by about halfway through the fair, over 3.5 tons were already on their way to becoming compost. They also did a lot to decrease the amount of waste that was created in the first place, by installing metered faucets and working with vendors to decrease the amount of food preparation waste.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) pitched in by contributing 6 Big Belly solar trash compactors (one pictured here outside the Massachusetts building). These hardworking compactors, made by a Massachusetts company, harvest the sun’s power to compact garbage, which reduces by up to 80 percent the number of garbage truck trips during the fair. Now that the fair is over, MassCEC plans to donate the Big Belly compactors to the Department of Conservation and Recreation for use in state parks around the Commonwealth. Good for the environment, and good for everyone’s health. That deserves a blue ribbon!