Voluntary Activities that Merit the “Completing the Cycle Award.
Santa Maria Fairpark richly deserves the “Completing the Cycle Award” for its commitment to the recycling of their organic waste stream. Since 2000, the 37th district agricultural association also has benefited from Santa Maria Fairpark’s recycling of the organic waste material generated from the Santa Barbara County Fair. Each year hundreds of young adults bring their livestock to the Fairpark for the County Fair. These animals are housed in the Fairpark’s facilities and use large amounts of straw and hay for bedding. After the animals have “put their mark” on this organic material, it is collected, removed and hauled to the Engel & Gray Inc Regional Composting Facility.
The Fairpark’s commitment to recycling by arranging to have the waste straw and hay composted helps to “complete the cycle”. Once received at the Engel & Gray Inc Regional Composting Facility, the material undergoes a regimented composting process where the it is transformed into a beneficial reusable product.
2. Environmental Benefits of the Activities.
The environmental benefits of Santa Maria Fairpark’s program are truly significant:
1. The beneficial use saves hundreds of yards of landfill space annually.
2. By converting this waste material to compost instead of simply land applying it without composting, potentially serious damage from runoff pollution is averted.
3. Other, much less desirable disposal alternatives would be land-filling, land application or burning.
Once the material is composted the benefits are:
4. Reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers
5. Improved water holding capacity of the soil, reducing leaching and therefore improving underground water and runoff water sources (often called non-point pollution)
6. By increasing soil fertility, water demand is reduced, which in turn reduces precious irrigation water consumption.
7. Longterm compost use can reduce soil-borne pathogens, thus reducing the consumption of environment-threatening pesticides.
8. The use of Compost reduces soil erosion.
9. The compost process kills pathogens in the waste material, preventing possible environmental contamination.
10. It replenishes nutrients in the soil, increases soil fertility, and increases organic matter.
3. Fulfilling the Promise of Recycling
The responsible conversion of this former waste material into compost helps to “complete the cycle” by recycling. Recycling, as the word implies, is a cycle. It is comprised of three steps which are represented by the familiar chasing arrows symbol: collection, processing, and purchasing. The Fairpark has completed the cycle by participating in the collection of organic material. To be able to reuse this material, once landfilled or land applied and potentially resulting in the spread of pathogens, non-point source pollution, and water contamination, the Santa Maria Fairpark has chosen the responsible path without expectation of material benefit or publicity. Through this Completing the Cycle Award, Santa Maria Fairpark receives a measure of richly deserved recognition and gratitude.