Zero-waste efforts get boost in Lee

To the editor:

Numerous volunteers and greater participation by vendors and groups selling food during Lee's popular Founders Weekend increased composting and recycling to more than two-thirds of the waste generated during zero-waste activities, the most composting and recycling ever during this event. The Lee Chamber of Commerce and the Tri-Town Health Department were instrumental in spreading the word about the composting and recycling effort.

Members of the Lee Recycling Committee contacted downtown restaurants during the year to offer support in complying with the zero-waste goal. Of the 20 vendors and groups selling food during Friday evening's Taste of Lee, 10 used only compostable materials and seven were partially compliant. Committee members set up and staffed recycling/composting/trash stations on Main Street.

On the following Saturday, we had stations at Henry's Big Green Egg Cook-off, the Sons of Italy food tent, and the Latino Festival. Members monitored public trash bins during the weekend and educated people about what items can be recycled and composted.

We can't thank our volunteers enough. They were Berkshire Bank employees Donna Boyer, Kay Cahalan, and Mary Turner; Boy Scouts Blake Cella, John Covell, Wilder Denaj, Elijah Mertinooke, Gavin Murray, Dorian Page, Garret and Luke Roche, and Daniel Snow; Ed Rutledge and Katie Costantini from the Center for Eco-Technology; and Alison Dixon and Sharon Siter from the Housatonic Valley Association.


Also, Lee residents Linda Ackerman, Sal Angelo, Wren Bernstein, Rod Stanbrook, Jim Wheeler, and Nick, Sheldon, and Lily Langley, and Lenox residents Jamie and Sophia Cahillane and Tom Irelan earn our thanks. We also thank Daley & Sons and Meadow Farm for their invaluable support.

With Lee's plastic bag and polystyrene bylaws going into effect next May, we're confident that the Founders Weekend zero-waste efforts will get a tremendous boost. We'll be working with the Tri-Town Health Department to help businesses, residents, and visitors transition to the new bylaws, and we'll continue to promote composting and recycling at events other organizations and businesses hold during the year, and to sell home compost bins. For more information, please contact me at

We again extend sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this year's success in Lee.

Peter Hofman, Lee The writer is chair, Lee Recycling Committee.