During Strawberry Festival, over 1,000 people used metal forks and spoons provided by Vashon volunteers Marie Browne and Bonnie de Steiguer. That’s 1,000 plastic utensils that didn’t enter the solid waste stream. This pilot program was done to determine if metal utensils would be welcome, and importantly, if they would be returned. It was gratifying that with over 1,000 used, the loss was negligible.
Collection of the utensils included loans by Granny’s and Sustainable Vashon’s No Trash Bash Stash, as well as donations by Deirdre Petree and many other members of the Vashon community who dropped them off at the Vashon Athletic Club and Pure. Trisha Frazer at Coburg (Oregon) Antique Mall and Nancy DeSautel of Corvallis, Oregon, also made generous donations. Thanks to Hilary Emmer for getting the word out and to Jennie Bell for the bin labels.
Over 500 utensils were distributed to the Rotary Strawberry booth and various vendors on Saturday; pick-up bins were placed alongside Zero Waste Vashon recycle bins, making a convenient, centrally located place to drop off utensils. Jack Skeffington and Troy Kindred sanitized the utensils at the Presbyterian church on Saturday, allowing them to be reused on Sunday.
The pilot program was a great success, and over the next year, volunteers will be collecting more utensils to further reduce plastic waste during Strawberry Festival — stay tuned for locations for future donations.
— Allen de Steiguer