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Bigger and Better Than Ever: 4th Annual GreenFest

POSTED UNDER Recycling & Waste Reduction

What started as a small idea just four years ago has blossomed into a multi-faceted event that spans multiple days and provides year-round inspiration for sustainability. The MMG Green Team’s 4th annual GreenFest was bigger and better than ever this year, and the response was tremendous, according to event organizers and spokespersons Laurie Rando and Peggy Blake, both of MMG Productions. “We opened it up to everyone in the New York offices,” says Rando, “since we’ve seen interest building every year, and we wanted to make it available to everyone we could.”

New This Year

The MMG Green Team partnered with the New York Go Green ERG to do more than ever before, including an insightful panel discussion on sustainable cotton before a standing room-only audience. Panel participants included representatives from Cotton, Inc., Supima Cotton, The Cotton Initiative, and Ultitex – an organization that certifies sustainability in supply chains, and the panel talked through the issues with cotton as well as what makes it more sustainable – with a focus on organic cotton.

The panel noted that organic cotton is better for the environment, better for the farmers, and better for people overall, due to reduced exposure to chemicals and reduced chemical buildup in the environment. Cotton accounts for three percent of agriculture, but nearly 25 percent of harmful crop chemicals worldwide, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation.

The GreenFest team also developed a fabric fair as a companion exhibit, featuring displays of sustainable fabrics in the Macy’s supply chain, as well as information on what makes them sustainable, and background on the Macy’s vendors who offer sustainable fabrics.

Swapping Supplies for Sustainability

Another hotly anticipated event is the annual Supply Swap, held on America Recycles Day. We all have supplies at our desks we’re not using, and this event gives Macy’s associates a chance to clean out their spaces and swap for supplies they’ll actually use. “People really look forward to the supply swap,” says Blake. “We had a lot of questions about when it would be leading up to GreenFest – there’s a lot of excitement around it!” And the supplies that don’t get claimed still get a new life – the GreenFest team donated them to Green Bronx Machine, a local education program that uses urban agriculture to grow healthy students and healthy schools to transform communities. “Nothing’s wasted, and we’re helping a great cause build a stronger community in our area,” said Rondo.

Turning Trash into Trends

The Trashion Show is a favorite event at GreenFest – contestants turn trash into treasure, creating crave-worthy fashion from post-consumer products. Competition is fierce, and imaginations run wild as our eco-friendly designers push the envelope (and sometimes, use the envelope) in designing their creations. All works are created on-site at Macy’s, and displayed at GreenFest where participants cast their votes. More than 300 people voted in this year’s competition, which yielded some of the most creative pieces to date.

The Evolution

Asked how GreenFest has evolved over the years, Rondo and Blake are quick to note that while they’ve seen attendance increase each year, the focus has grown as well. “It’s evolved from what you can to at home or as an individual to what you can do in your everyday job to have a meaningful impact,” they agree. “The goal is to bring sustainability to the forefront, and educate our colleagues on what each individual can to do make our operations more sustainable. Like everything sustainable, it’s looking at the broader world and how we can work together for positive change.

And that’s a horizon that’s virtually unlimited.


You might also like:

Every Little Bit Helps – Recycling Champion Mindy Rulli

Why Do You Go Green?

Sustainability in Retail Panel – Earth Week 2016


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