A little more than a week has passed since the conclusion of the “Symbiosis Gathering” that took place at Woodward Reservoir outside Oakdale, hosting a thrilling array of entertainment, art and many other festivities. The “participants” have all gone home, but another group has inhabited the beautiful marshland that makes up Woodward Reservoir for the past week. They are the “Waste Busters” and they aren’t afraid of the trash that lurks in the dark. They are the unseen heroes that swoop in to fight the monstrous piles of waste left behind, and they’re the real reason events and festivals are able to keep thriving. These behind-the-scenes champions tame the beastly amounts of litter and trash left on site after events have ended and attendees have left the premises.
Waste Busters is a company, started in 2008 by Principal Consultant, Michael Siminitus, focused on event and venue waste reduction and greening. His team of professionals has been helping to clean the earth and spread their message for over half a decade, stepping in to save the day when the situation gets a little ‘dirty’. The team was on site weeks ahead of Symbiosis, and stayed long after it was over, ensuring the land was clean and the trash made its proper journey. For the duration of the event, the team was cleaning and sorting 24 hours a day, in order to keep everything flowing into the proper containers and allow event goers to enjoy as clean a venue as possible.
The goal of the Waste Busters team, however, goes far beyond simply striving to do a job and make a paycheck. The company truly believes in the importance of its methods, such as sorting all waste materials properly, and desires to spread this way of living to the rest of the world. Siminitus explains how over 9 million tons of what ends up in landfills each year is recyclable material, worth over $900 million, and at least a third of that material is compostable organics. He goes on to explain the impact this has on the environment, stating that “If we could keep recyclable and compostable materials out of landfills and instead keep them flowing throughout the economy and supporting sustainable agriculture, we could recover 42 percent of what we would otherwise bury.”
Also, according to the US EPA, “All landfills will eventually fail and leak in to the environment.”
So what can you do as one individual person? Siminitus says that it is as simple as sorting your trash properly, by separating recyclables, compostable materials and trash into separate containers to avoid cross-contamination, and help ensure the waste ends up in its proper place.
“There needs to be a cultural transformation towards zero waste. This way of thinking should be part of the culture,” he said.
In other words, recycling should be more than just a hobby or pastime for some, but rather a way of life for everyone. It needs to become something that is embedded into our culture. He went on to say that we should treat recycling like a competition “because a competition is a goal and humans are really good at achieving goals.” This is something that events and gatherings like Symbiosis have been working to make a reality.
The people behind Symbiosis have strived to spread the message of the importance of building and creating sustainably through many efforts made throughout the event, but ultimately their choice to hire the Waste Busters team proves their commitment to their beliefs and the environment they are using. Symbiosis event creator Bosque Hrbek spoke about his desires to continue to spread the “Leave No Trace” principle to his gathering, brainstorming ideas on reducing the waste thumbprint left behind each year by every means possible. He spoke about how it gets a little better each year, as more people become conscious of the choices they are making. He mentioned how upon arrival at Woodward Reservoir, there were thousands of bottle caps, cigarette butts and trash that was cleaned up before the event took place. In reference to the work done by the Waste Busters, Hrbek stated, “If we do the proper mooping, we can leave it better than it was before we got here.”
His statement about removing all the “moop”, which means “material out of place”, demonstrates the commitment of Symbiosis to leave the land they’ve used cleaner than they found it.
The bottom line is, recycling saves money and energy, and reduces greenhouse gases, while supporting the economy. Composting keeps valuable organics feeding farms while reducing methane emissions. Landfill diversion creates jobs and cools the planet, and it is as easy as properly sorting discarded items. The heroes at Waste Busters are those dedicated to spreading this knowledge and making the planet a cleaner, healthier place for inhabitants.
For more information about the Waste Busters, visit www.WasteBusters.info.