Zero Waste Initiative

A lot of Food means a lot of Trash

Thousands of visitors come to Rockport for Harvestfest to enjoy the best of the season’s bounty provided by local food producers and growers. We all have a great time, but we all also generate a lot of trash.

A huge thanks goes to the Rockport DPW (shout out to Chuck Osmond!) and to Sharon Kishida, MassDEP Municipal Assistance Coordinator for the town of Rockport and 38 other communities. Sharon uses her technical and logistical skill to spearhead a comprehensive effort to turn Harvestfest into a zero waste event. This is a not inconsiderable challenge when the crowds of people and the differing materials used in food service are factored in. Yet Sharon, along with her team of volunteers, pull it off with good grace. Each year the team learns how to refine the process of efficiently reducing the byproduct of having such a good time at Harvestfest.

We’re excited to announce that Seaside Sustainability‘s Eric Magers and local realtor Paul Franklin are joining Sharon this year as part of the 2017 crack ZWI team!

To join the efforts of Sharon, Eric, and Paul and volunteer for this year’s Harvestfest Zero Waste Initiative, click HERE. We’d love to have you on board as part of the Zero Waste Initiative!


Below, please find a summary of the 2016 Zero Waste Initiative Report. A huge thank you to our 2016 ZWI volunteers, especially the many students from Manchester Essex Regional High School, the Rockport Department of Public Works, an to Black Earth Compost.

Harvest Festival 2016 – Waste Reduction Initiative Results

  • 7 bags of trash (down from eight in 2015, in spite of increased attendance).  
  • 6 bags of organic waste (down from seven in 2015)
  • 5 bags of recycling (up from four in 2015)
  • Hamper full of flattened cardboard

There were 4 sorting stations (one in Harvey Park and three on T-Wharf) for

  • Liquid pour off
  • Composting
  • Recycling
  • Trash

The DPW delivered eight 55-gallon barrels for trash and recycling.  Black Earth Compost delivered six 64-gallon wheeled carts with liners for compostables. 

There were 3 sorting stations in Dock Square* for

  • Recycling
  • Trash

The DPW delivered two 55-gallon barrels for recycling.

*A 21-gallon organics cart was also located on Dock Square Island for the pie tasting table.  Compostable forks and plates were used.

27 volunteers helped the public sort their discards.  Most volunteers worked two hour shifts, and most were students from Manchester Essex Regional High School, who were earning service hours.