Thousands of cyclists streamed through Solvang, Lompoc and Santa Maria Saturday, but hardly a trace was left.
Touted as a “Zero Waste” event, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Environmental Office in partnership with Waste Management scattered compost, landfill and recycling bins throughout Solvang’s village center where about 3,000 bicyclists embarked on the Solvang Century, Metric and Half Century ride.
“I believe it’s important to bring sustainability aspect to all events,” said Julio Carrillo, environmental technical and SYVEO Zero Waste organizer. “If we didn’t have recycling at this event, 100 percent of all the waste generated would end up in the landfill.”
Zero Waste organizers sorted through mounds of paper cups, plastic bottles and garbage Saturday, diverting roughly three tons of recyclable materials from the Tajiguas Landfill, which Carrillo said is “expected to be filled very soon if we don’t turn to alternative disposal options.”
About 550 tons of waste head to Santa Barbara County’s landfill daily.
The Chumash Zero Waste Program began in 2009 as a way to divert all waste from local landfills. Since 2010, organizers have brought the Zero Waste program to more than 65 events, diverting about 170 cubic yards of waste from the landfill.