N.C. Museum of Art Outdoor Event Recycling

Guest Blogger – Sherry Yarkosky

During the 2008 N.C. Museum of Art Summer Music and Movie series, visitors were able to recycle their aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass wine bottles while they enjoyed an outdoor music show or a movie.

The outdoor event recycling program was an expansion of the museum’s internal office and restaurant recycling program. Additionally, the new program enabled the museum to be in compliance with North Carolina’s 2008 law requiring facilities selling beer, wine and liquor to recycle glass bottles, aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

Gweneth Hastings, manager, Performing Arts & Film Programs, who also served as the museum’s recycling leader, was interviewed recently by RBAC’s Sherry Yarkosky to discuss the outcome of the N.C. Museum of Art’s expanded outdoor event recycling program.

RBAC: Did you hear positive or negative feedback from attendees about the new recycling program?
MOA: We heard positive feedback from our visitors. Most of our audience is environmentally conscious and they were happy to see we’re making an effort. We’ve learned that consistency is important – it helps to have a recycling bin next to every single trash can. We want our visitors to be able to count on being able to recycle, no matter where they are in the museum park or in the museum building. We didn’t hear any negative feedback directly. However, when patrons enter the museum grounds they are given a small trash bag for their garbage. We did notice that some patrons fill up the bag at the end of the night with trash as well as their recycling (cans and bottles), and throw it in the garbage cans as they leave the park theater. If our visitors see a recycling bin next to every trash can consistently, we’ll be able to encourage more separating of recyclables at the end of the night.

RBAC: How did the recycling containers work for the program?
MOA: For the most part, the recycling containers worked well. The size was manageable for our housekeeping staff and the flip-top lid worked well to encourage putting only your recyclables in the bin and not an evening’s worth of trash.

RBAC: How was the housekeeping staff affected by the recycling program?
MOA: Our housekeeping manager feels the recycling containers were used by the majority of our visitors. However, some recyclables still inevitably ended up in the trash bins. No extra work was created with the new recycling containers, and the amount of trash we would normally have put in our Dumpsters was reduced.

RBAC: Was the recycling company picking up the materials helpful?
MOA: We don’t have the capacity to store a large volume of recyclables on site, so the willingness of Orange Recycling Services to make special pickups the first business day after all events was invaluable. They were helpful and very easy to work with.

RBAC: Do you have any event recycling advice for other venues such as the MOA?
MOA: Appoint a recycling leader, form a “Green Team” if possible, and seek out advice from local experts.

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