OCEAN CITY – A local nonprofit is partnering with Delmarva Bike Week and OC BikeFest to launch the first zero-waste event in Ocean City.
Last week, Go Green OC – a nonprofit dedicated to zero-waste goals in Ocean City – announced the organization’s partnership with Delmarva Bike Week and OC BikeFest to reduce the use of single-use plastics and promote recycling.
“This year kicks off efforts to leave only our footprints in the sand,” said Chase Michael, exhibitor and marketing director for OC BikeFest. “We are taking action to reduce single use plastic products such as bags, bottles and straws, recycling cans and asking vendors to begin using compostable materials.”
Josh Chamberlain, founder of Go Green OC, said plans to implement green initiatives at the Ocean City bike rally started nearly a year ago. Since that time, the organization has worked alongside the event organizer to introduce the first phase.
“There has been a lot of planning in terms of how we are going to slowly introduce this,” he said. “We are just taking small steps right now.”
Chamberlain said the goal is to introduce green initiatives at OC BikeFest over the next five years.
“Every year, we plan on working with OC BikeFest to make the event more green, including the introduction of composting in 2020,” he said.
This year, Go Green OC will have a booth set up at the Inlet, where they will be collecting donations and handing out information, canvas bags and reusable water bottles. They will also promote source reduction efforts by asking vendors to use compostable- or plant-based materials.
“We will not be enforcing anything,” Chamberlain said. “We are just asking them to be more conscious of what they are doing and what they are using.”
Chamberlain said Go Green OC will also utilize volunteers to increase recycling rates throughout the weekend.
“They basically walk around the event and make sure the cans are in the recycling bins and make sure there’s no contamination and things like that …,” he said. “We have to work at three locations, so we need tons of volunteers.”
Chamberlain said Go Green OC will also place banners to educate eventgoers on recycling. He added volunteers will be stationed at the Inlet and Ocean City convention center for OC BikeFest and at the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium for Delmarva Bike Week.
“The most important thing we’ll be doing is removing the recycled cans to Salisbury and redeeming those cans for cash,” he said. “We will be using that cash to accelerate our programs, including our composting program in Ocean City.”
Chamberlain highlighted the community’s support for the zero-waste event.
He noted, for example, that all three locations of Pit & Pub have sponsored a recycling truck, which will be used to pick up recycled cans from each location.
“They are paying for a truck, the gas and all the other expenses,” he said. “Without them we wouldn’t have been able to implement the recycling aspect of the event. We are really thankful.”
He added that safety vests will be provided by Sunbelt Rentals, grapplers will be provided by an anonymous donor and PathWater – an aluminum water bottle company – will be encouraging visitors to reuse their PathWater bottle. Special guests Steven Frend and his wife Olga, from the TLC show “90 Day Fiance,” will also assist Go Green OC by running social media accounts at the Inlet.
“The community has absolutely been behind this,” he said. “It’s been an explosion of people wanting us to go and make this happen.”
Chamberlain said he is eager to make OC BikeFest a nationwide model for zero waste initiatives.
“If we can get one of the largest events in Ocean City to turn zero waste, there is no excuse for every other event not to …,” he said. Our main goal is to make Ocean City the role model for not just the county or state, but for the nation.”
For more information, visit gogreenwithoc.org or the nonprofit’s Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals who volunteer for a minimum of two hours with Go Green OC will receive a free one-day entry wristband to OC BikeFest.