Oak Bay Tea Party garbage sorters divert 3,000 pounds of trash from landfill

‘I’d rather have my head in garbage than put me in one of those tea cups on the ocean’

If Noreen Taylor could change one thing about the Oak Bay Tea Party it would the outside garbage coming in.

The recycling guru is alright with her four days of trash picking and sorting, and pleased with the results, but would still love to see less garbage head to the landfill.

“Our goal is zero waste, all of our vendors on site use compostable utensils and food holders,” she said. “I recommend people buy all their food on site.”

Each year Taylor willingly sorts through people’s leavings at the Oak Bay Tea Party to ensure the garbage is in fact garbage, and can’t be otherwise recycled or composted.

“We captured more than we ever have before,” Taylor said of the 2017 event. “We didn’t have a big enough bin last year, so we got a bigger one this year. We started compacting earlier so we had time for the last bins that come off the field.”

That hand-sorting saved 3,740 pounds from heading for the landfill. The weekend came out to about 16 bags of hard plastic,14 bags of soft plastic and 9.5 totes of garbage.

“Every little bit of that went through the volunteers’ fingers,” she said. She had four volunteers this year that put in about 24 hours added to her 22 hours of sorting.

“It’s a dirty, horrible, concentrated job, but I bet it’s the most rewarding job in the whole event,” Taylor said. “I’d rather have my head in garbage than put me in one of those tea cups on the ocean.”


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