In a presentation prior to the Saugerties Town Board meeting on Wednesday, November 16, Richard “Doc” Kappler praised the “hundreds of volunteers” who worked at the annual Garlic Festival on October 1 and 2, as well as Parks and Recreation Supervisor Greg Chorvas and his crew, Police Chief Joseph Sinagra and police officers and the Town Board for their efforts in making the festival a success. He also had praise for Greenway Environmental Services, which organized the effort to minimize the impact of the festival through an innovative garbage and recycling effort.
“Fortunately, we have been successful over the last 29 years, and did not need the [financial] support of the Town Board to make this happen,” Kappler said. He reimbursed the town for expenses related to police and parks and recreation services, $9,092 for police expenses and $15,342 for Parks and Recreation Department expenses.
Town Supervisor Fred Costello praised the Kiwanis for their contributions to the town, and especially for the festival. “Folks come from all over the northeast to participate and it’s really a compliment to you folks who’ve maintained that legacy for years, and we’re grateful that we’re back and we applaud your courage in seeking out the zero-waste initiative.”
Chorvas praised the volunteers — 250 of them — for their work in making the festival a success. He also praised the Kiwanis, saying, “if it were not for the Kiwanis, we would not have an ice rink here in Saugerties.”
“In order to make the zero-waste initiative work, we needed volunteers,” said Josephine Papagni of Greenway Environmental Services, which organized the zero-waste initiative at the festival. Appeals were posted on websites, on walking trails, restaurants and any other place that would accept publicity. The effort yielded 136 people to fill 158 time slots. She named three volunteers who were kicked out after working three time slots each. “It’s time to go home,” they were told. The company maintained equipment for separating and hauling away the trash. Papagni described the variety of equipment the company deployed to ensure that waste and trash were kept to a minimum.
“In total, we handled 18-and-a-half tons of material,” Papagni said. The list of materials included cooking oil, cardboard, as well as other materials, or 89 percent. She offered an impressive list of environmental savings over the usual use of landfills.
The final step in recycling is to reuse the materials you salvage, Papagni said. “You can’t just pile it up in a pile.” Vendors used compostable plastic for utensils and platters to further reduce the waste.
Some vendors bought utensils that were marked biodegradable, but were not really suitable for the festival; others who had extra shared with them, Papagni said. As vendors and the public become more aware of the zero-waste system, it will be easier in future years.