Oceanside Earth Fest hailed as biggest in North County

Oceanside Earth Fest hailed as biggest in North County
Oceanside Earth Festival drew a crowd of over 5,000 April 19. The festival included live music, eco-friendly home and business tips, and vintage and repurposed retail. Photo by Promise Yee

Oceanside – The seventh annual Oceanside Earth Festival filled four downtown blocks with eco-friendly home and business tips, interactive kids activities, environmental nonprofits, and vintage and repurposed retail April 19.

The message shared was reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink.

“It’s a celebration of our region’s efforts to promote sustainability and protect our waterways,” Colleen Foster, city solid waste and recycling management analyst, said. “We’re encouraging families, and people in our community and neighboring communities, to basically practice the four Rs.”

In the kids eco-zone Lincoln Middle School student Andres Garza shared schoolwide efforts to put waste in the right place, whether it’s a general recyclable, cash earning CRV recyclable, or trash.

Plans are to start a school compost bin to further divert waste from going into landfills.

The Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano, and the Eco-Rooted organization also had hands on learning and creating centers for the 5,000 plus who attended the festival. Kids had an opportunity to decide how to divide a bucket of water for daily uses, and make bracelets and crowns with repurposed materials.

For the second year the vintage market area was part of the Earth Festival. Venders offered a variety of unique vintage and upcycled goods for sale.

“It’s bringing a new life to something old,” Foster said.

Reducing waste is everyone’s concern.

California cities are mandated to reduce waste that goes into landfills by 75 percent by 2020. Some cities have set a further goal to reduce waste by 90 percent by 2040.

Oceanside adopted a Zero Waste Plan in 2012, which has helped the city move towards its reduction goals.

“In 2008 to 2010 we were generally around a 50 to 58 percent recycling rate,” Foster said. “And then once we passed the Zero Waste Plan and our community got engaged through Earth month, Green Oceanside, and our Road to Zero Waste program, we’ve taken our recycling rate to over 70 percent, one of the highest recycling rates in California.”

Foster said home and business efforts add up and make a difference.

Other California cities that divert 70 percent or more of waste, and are reaching for 90 percent diversion, are San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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