Thursday, November 21, 2019

Paseo Arts District Promotes Sustainability at Annual Festival

The Paseo Arts District is home to over 20 galleries and more than 80 vibrant artists, all within walking distance of each other on the two-block street in Oklahoma City that has maintained its Spanish revival architecture, featuring original stucco buildings and clay roof tiles. Intermixed with the galleries are restaurants, art schools, boutiques and more.

Every Memorial Day weekend, the Paseo Arts Association (PAA) hosts the annual Paseo Arts Festival, offering vibrant art, two entertainment stages, free activities for children, and delicious food vendors. The large quantity of food sold generates a great deal of waste. To address this issue, the PAA created a festival-wide recycling program in 2013, setting yearly goals of maintaining a waste stream that is at least 75 percent recyclable.

The initiative helped inspire the district to further its efforts in becoming environmentally conscious, but many Paseo merchants faced challenges along the way. This was a particular problem for businesses that receive a large volume of cardboard in their merchandise shipments. Because Oklahoma City does not provide commercial recycling services, the merchants were forced to take their materials home to recycle or throw them away. In order to address this issue, Paseo merchants partnered with Fertile Ground and, instead of trashing their cardboard and other recyclable materials, these businesses are able to take advantage of Fertile Ground’s weekly commercial recycling services.

The PAA has received recognition from the community for their environmental efforts. They hope to encourage other districts and local businesses to follow suit.

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