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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The sustainable Spring Fling

While the nation’s largest student-run carnival offers rides, game booths and food, it also means the production of a lot of waste.

The UA Office of Sustainability, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Students for Sustainability and Compost Cats are all working together to make Spring Fling as green as it can be.

Michael Rabbani, co-director for Students for Sustainability, said members of both SFS and Compost Cats will be posted at trash, recycling and compost bins around the carnival to make sure waste is disposed of properly. From Friday to Sunday, 100 total people will work in shifts to monitor garbage disposal.

“It makes a 100-percent difference,” Rabbani said. “Having people at the stations is vital to our waste diversion efforts.”

Rabbani also said expediters from Compost Cats will continuously bring waste to their trucks and from there will transport it to the San Xavier Co-op Farm to start the composting process.

Spring Fling marketing director Santiago Kloehr said all food served by UA student clubs will be served in compostable containers.

In addition, he said local business Grecycle will be collecting used cooking oil from Spring Fling and converting it into biodiesel for the UA campus, including fuel for the CatTran shuttles.

The UA Cycling Club will staff a free bike valet service on Cherry Avenue, which is operational all three days of the carnival.

All of these efforts have made the event more sustainable in the past.

Spring Fling diverted eight tons of waste from landfills by recycling, composting and reusing in 2015, according to the Spring Fling website. This amount was about 78 percent of all waste generated at the event and, in terms of greenhouse gas reductions, was the equivalent of removing 61 cars from the road for a month.

To students attending Spring Fling, seeing these efforts to be more green may inspire change.

“It shows us college students that being sustainable doesn’t have to be so challenging and can be accomplished through simple tasks,” said Talia Stone, an environmental studies sophomore. “Humans have made such a negative impact on the environment and it’s time to start being more aware of our actions.”

While all of these campus groups work hard to make the carnival as sustainable as possible, there is still work to do. Rabbani said energy usage is one thing that has not yet been addressed with Spring Fling.

“It has considerable merit because energy production, as well as waste diversion, are two vitally important issues when you’re talking about sustainability from a broader perspective,” Rabbini said.

An Energy and Climate Committee began within SFS last fall.

Spring Fling also offers an opportunity for the community to become more educated about sustainability efforts. The UA Office of Sustainability will have a tent set up Saturday where UA Community Garden interns will share their knowledge of local gardening while guests create their own potted designs.

Follow Leah Merrall on Twitter.

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