The Lumberjack

WRRAP goes beyond barriers during the Zero Waste Conference

Photo by Dajonea Robinson.

Humboldt State University’s WRRAP hosted their second annual Zero Waste Conference on Feb. 9 and Feb 10.

The conference aimed to focus on the way we’re redirecting waste in our community, as well as the barriers that come with it.

The two-day conference kicked off on Feb. 9 with DIY workshops focusing on waste reduction in the Humboldt community.

There was also a banquet with keynote speakers followed by a documentary screening of Wasted Away.

There was an all-day event of panelist discussions, a compost workshop and speakers on Feb. 10.

One of the speakers was Dr. Melanie McCavour, lecturer for environmental science and management at HSU.

McCavour’s presentation went over some common definitions and misconceptions of the terms biofuel, biomass and much more.

“There’s no one answer to the question ‘Are biofuels sustainable?’,” McCavour said. “They’re not always bad and they’re not always sustainable. It depends on the situation.”

McCavour expected to see more people in attendance. However, she said that one cannot judge success by the amount of people who turned out, and that it’s better judged by how much those learn from it.

WRRAP education director Shanti Belaustegui believes this conference is an amazing opportunity to have a dialogue in our community about solutions and to get inspired by things that are happening.

“I personally am leaving feeling very inspired,” Belaustegui said. “The people that did show up left with their minds nourished. That’s all we could’ve asked for, to create dialogue with the community and start this.”

Ciera Wilbur, zero waste director for WRRAP, hopes that the Zero Waste Conference becomes a permanent event at HSU for people who don’t quite know about sustainability and zero waste.

“The way I see sustainability is like the capacity to continue to exist,” Wilbur said. “We’re trying to protect our resources for future generations not just our current gratification.”

Wilbur described zero waste as something that should bring us away from the current idealism, which is convenience and single-use products. She tries to bring forth the idea that what you use can be reused.

“… we’re looking to create a circle,” Wilbur said.

When it comes to sustainability and zero waste, there are barriers that people face. Wilbur said our biggest barrier is accessibility.

“There’s a lack of education and sharing knowledge of how we can be more sustainable in an easy way,” Wilbur said.