If you’ve attended a major outdoor event in Sioux Falls, you’ve seen them. Men and women in fluorescent green, milling amongst the crowd, picking up discarded items and sticking around to clean up. They’re the Ecomaniacs and they’re the unsung heroes of the local festival circuit.
The group is a volunteer-driven nonprofit dedicated to creating a better community by setting a good example. Last year alone, they recycled nearly nine tons of material gathered at summer events.
“Our mission is to empower youth and adults through education and a call to action to participate in an environmentally responsible community,” explained Ecomaniacs treasurer and Millennium Recycling president Jake Anderson.
Originally formed in 2008 as “Trash Talkers,” a trademark conflict forced the group to adopt a new moniker in 2011. However, the mission has not changed. In addition to having a presence at events like the 605 Summer Classic, RibFest, Riverfest, the Sioux Empire Fair, and JazzFest, Ecomaniacs partners with schools to address the importance of environmental stewardship amongst young people.
One startling statistic that the group hopes the public keeps in mind is that roughly 80 percent of our household trash is recyclable, yet we only actually recycle about 30 percent. That means tons of trash is needlessly winding up in our landfills every year. According to the Ecomaniacs website, “when people see trash on the ground daily, they become blind to it,” so simple awareness is half the battle.
To read the full article, click here or pick up the June issue of 605 Magazine.