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Crabby Cleanup

Turning a crab feast into an eco-success

       Twenty-two hundred crab-lovers filled their bellies with crabs, barbecue, beer and watermelon at the 74th Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast earlier this month.

            Trash cans were filled as well, with shells, claws, cups and plates. Instead of the landfill, all that waste is going to recycling.

            Again this year, Annapolis Green worked behind the scenes to make the feast “the world’s largest zero-waste crab feast,” with all the waste recycled or composted. Annapolis Green stepped in with its Responsible Events and Festivals Program, an affiliate of Keep Annapolis Beautiful.

            Bottles and cans are recycled, and all cutlery, cups, trays and more are composted. Trucked to Veteran Compost in Aberdeen, that residue is made into crab compost to enrich local gardens. Last year, Annapolis Green sold 313 bags of the crab compost over the holidays.

            “We composted over 14 tons of waste this year,” reports Elvia Thompson, president and co-founder of Annapolis Green. “And we recycled 780 pounds of cans and plastic bottles.”

            Five giant bags of plastic from ice bags, plastic wrap that covered paper towels and the rings from six-packs of soft drinks were also collected and delivered to Graul’s Market in West Annapolis, to be sent for recycling.

            “We are very thankful that Bryan Graul for the second year in a row was able to take that for us,” said Thompson.

            New this year was an ice-cold keg of water in the volunteer booth. “The Rotary received donations of plastic water bottles, but we wanted to promote doing something that didn’t involve the use of unnecessary plastic. It worked out very well, and we thank Oliver Brewing Company for helping make that happen.”

            Just one small bag couldn’t be recycled or composted after the event. In it were containers of secret sauces brought in by guests and left behind after the festivities.