There is something new at the Taste of Buffalo and Thursday at the Harbor this year. It’s not a new exotic food or the next superstar band. It’s recycling totes.
The Taste of Buffalo, the country’s largest two-day food festival that attracts almost 450,000 patrons annually, will unveil 200 new yellow and green totes with a single hole on the top to go with its 200 garbage cans at this weekend’s event.
“We are excited about this. We sell a lot of water and pop, and we hope that people will take advantage of the recycling totes. It would be great if we could set an example for other festivals,” said Connie Nitkowski, President of Sell-utions, Inc. and coordinator/manager of Taste of Buffalo.
The new totes are a step up in recycling for the food festival and made possible by the City of Buffalo.
“For the past couple of years, we have had recycling cans that had open tops, and the recycling, plus the garbage, would co-mingle. As a nonprofit, we just didn’t have the funding to pay for the separation,” Nitkowski said. “Really, without the city, it wouldn’t be feasible.”
Buffalo Place, which runs Thursday at the Harbor, unveiled 20 recycling totes at the start of the concert season, also with the help from the city.
“The help from the city has been great. They are obviously very interested in reducing what goes to the transfer station, but they have provided us with these totes and, if we need more, they will give us more,” W. Morgan Smith, Manager of Public Space with Buffalo Place said.
Smith might need more as the concert season continues. He discovered that education was key for having the first concert’s patrons make a recycling choice.
“We have had three concerts and two of which we have had totes at, and what we found is that there is a need to educate the public about what is acceptable,” Smith said. “People aren’t entirely certain, particularly about the cups. I think the water bottles and pop bottles, everybody knows you can recycle those. For cups, I’ve actually seen a group of people where someone will put a cup in the recycling and someone else will say no, no, no, you shouldn’t.
“The first week, we realized people weren’t getting it at all. So we came up with these signs, and I think that is making a difference. As people see other people doing it they’ll learn and say ‘Hey, wait a minute, I can put that in there,’ ” Smith added.
Recycling is an education process. You can start recycling this weekend at the Taste of Buffalo and help major events in Western New York recycle large amounts of material that would otherwise occupy space at local landfills.