Earth Day Festival composting workshops raise eco-awareness

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COLUMBIA - Columbia had its 27th annual Earth Day Festival Sunday and invited two composting workshops to the festival.

"We are filling up our landfills at an alarming rate, and anything we can do to reduce what goes into the landfill is going to be important," Jody Cook, a volunteer program specialist with the City of Columbia, said.

Cook said 34 percent of the materials that are going into landfills could be composted.

"Today we are collecting food waste in the food court area, and all of the food waste that we collect today will go out to the city’s compost facility," Cook said.

She also said the city produces and sells compost. The compost is available on Thursdays and multiple Saturdays, and is also available at Hy-Vee and Menards by bag.

"It’s important to Columbia residents, because all of us have to be invested in our environment, and we have to do a lot more to protect our environment, and it’s the right thing to do, and it’s easy," Cook said.

Cook said people that are pre-registered for the workshops would get a free bin. 

Laura Wacker, an Earth Day Festival coordinator, said there were 229 booths in total, which includes people talking about home gardening, solar panels, parks, nature and people who sell recycled products.

"The main emphasis is to educate people on sustainability. We have a great of area of booths called Eco Avenue, and the entire area is based on education on sustainability principles," said Wacker.

Wacker assumed 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the festival.

"It's one of the coolest events I think they have every year downtown. And you see all these people coming out, having a good time, and enjoying this great spring day," Clark Gribble, a MU student who attended this event, said.

The city will offer more composting workshops on May 7, July 23, September 7 and 25.