SOUTH PORTLAND — The city’s sustainability program has been expanded to include a zero-waste goal for all municipal events such as the annual Family 4th of July Celebration at Bug Light Park.

The city is partnering with Garbage to Garden, a local curbside composting company, to significantly reduce the amount of trash generated at city-sponsored events, according to a news release. The goal is to divert as much as 90 percent of all waste to recycling and composting bins.

“This is a citywide effort and we want to lead the way,” said Julie Rosenbach, the city’s sustainability coordinator. “We want to show the community how easy it can be to reduce the amount of trash we generate.”

The new waste-reduction goal at city-sponsored events is part of an effort to increase South Portland’s recycling rate to 35 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2020.

The city’s Energy & Recycling Committee introduced the waste-reduction model at Willard Fest last year, when only one bag of trash was generated by about 1,600 participants.

To achieve similar success at the July Fourth celebration, two centralized waste tents will be set up at Bug Light Park with bins to collect food scraps and paper products for composting and plastics and metals for recycling. Volunteers will be on hand to help things run smoothly.

The same approach will be taken at the municipal employee appreciation picnic on July 23. The city recently purchased reusable metal bottles for city employees to replace disposable water bottles.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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