WOOSTER — Wearing a Celebrate the Planet T-shirt she bought at a previous Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair, Sandra Matlock looked for more ways to conserve energy and expand her recycling efforts at the 2014 fair on Tuesday at Fisher Auditorium on the campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
“I’ve been waiting for (it) for two years,” Matlock said, eager to attend because “they’ve got such great ideas for recycling.”
She had just visited the Frito-Lay booth, where she learned recycled potato chip bags may be made into “pocketbooks, zippered totes and flower pots.”
“I (also) was learning about electric cars,” Matlock, of Lodi, said, and “how much they can save you in the long run.”
The Frito-Lay plant in Wooster turns the bags into pellets, which subsequently are made into flower pots, said Cathy Cuffman, a packer manning the booth. Other plants “send them out (to be made into) totes and pencil bags.”
The company even “takes the starch off potatoes” to be recycled into powder, subsequently used in the production of lipstick and eye makeup.
As a church or school group, “you can start a (recycling) bag brigade,” said Frito-Lay’s environmental coordinator, Pam Carter.
“I always enjoy (the fair),” said Lynn Kline of Wooster. “I come every year (to see) the different exhibits.”
This year she took advantage of the opportunity provided by the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency to get rid of unused prescription medications.
Throughout the Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair, exhibitors “always have ideas — things that make you a better consumer,” Kline said.
For example, “I’ve learned more about organic things and Rails to Trails,” she said, and has become aware of other environmental groups with which she had previously not been acquainted.
“This year we’re just enjoying it,” said Sheila Klimas of Seville, having in the past visited with a specific purpose, such as checking out gutters.
As recyclers, they’re always looking for new venues, she said. Her husband, Ken, said the couple is saving money “to put in solar energy to save money.”
Mick and Nancy Real of Wooster also were interested in solar energy.
The fair “has been wonderful and exciting and gets you thinking about projects,” Nancy Real said.
Solar energy would “reduce our electric bill by quite a bit,” Mick Real said. “Fossil fuels are going to run out and become more expensive.”
Although the investment would be “pretty big,” he said, installing solar panels would be “an investment in the future … earn(ing) 7 percent per year in returns, better than you get in the stock market or bonds.”
“We’re (also) going to take a look at electric cars,” he said.
“We’re trying to be a little more resilient,” Nancy Real said.
Jen Garber of Shreve represented a vendor new to the fair, Threads of Hope, where items like lanyards, bookmarks and bracelets hand-crafted by impoverished people in the Philippines were being sold for a fundraiser.
Half of the proceeds were to be paid to the artisans in the Philippines and half to the American Cancer Society, for which Garber is raising $700 in order to participate in the ACS Pan Ohio Hope Ride in July.
Ken Cochran, Secrest Arboretum program director, presided over the giving away of native trees each hour — an Ohio buckeye, American chestnut, shagbark hickory, scarlet oak and shumard oak, all native trees, Cochran said.
As part of the festivities and in honor of the OARDC’s re-certification as a Tree Campus USA, a columnar Japanese zelkova was to be planted on the front lawn of Fisher Auditorium. “An environmentally sound tree — that’s our objective,” he said.
OARDC grounds crew members Tony Widder and Ben Miller also perused the exhibits at Fisher Auditorium.
“I’m really interested in renewable energy,” Widder said, pointing out the entire spectrum of possibilities represented at the fair, from residential to commercial. “They even have residential turbines.”
“I come from an agricultural background,” said Miller, who was especially interested in organic options. “I didn’t realize the (extent of) record-keeping (required).”
Mark Jones manned an outside station with non-polluting lawnmowers, promoting them over gas mowers, which he described as “terrible,” emitting the same kinds of noxious fumes as cars and representing “5 percent of our air pollution.”