The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Great music, zero waste at Maha

August 8, 2023 | Julie Wasson | community, environment, outreach
The Beths on LinkedIn Stage – by Audrey Hertel
The Beths perform at Maha Festival in July. Photo by Audrey Hertel

Sweltering heat and periods of rain were no match for the musical acts that drew 12,000 people to this year’s Maha Festival.

A wide range of artists took the stage over two days, July 28 and 29, pulling in sizeable crowds despite Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation.

This was the festival’s last year at Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park. Next year, the festival moves downtown to its new home in Omaha’s renovated Heartland of America Park at The RiverFront, where it will have room to expand.

Zero-waste event

For the second year in a row, the festival was a zero-waste event. Of the 2,688 pounds of waste generated on-site, 94% was diverted from the landfill through recycling and composting.

That qualified the event for a “zero-waste” designation by Zero Waste International Alliance standards.

Zero Waste Monitors with Sign – by Ben Semisch
Volunteers helped ensure the proper disposal of waste during the festival. In the end, 94% of waste generated on-site was diverted from the landfill through recycling and composting. Photo by Ben Semisch

OPPD was once again the sustainability sponsor for the festival, and OPPD employees were among the festival’s 800 volunteers. Some of those volunteers worked on the recycling monitoring team, where they helped attendees dispose of waste properly.

“Sustainability is all about innovating and making continuous improvements,” said Rachel Grace, Maha’s executive director, communications & strategy.

“It’s great to know that with this collaborative effort — involving our sustainability sponsor OPPD, and numerous dedicated volunteers and other partners — we are capable of diverting 94% of waste and leaving only a couple of standard trash bins after a weekend-long festival.

“We’re inspired by those results and look forward to maintaining this initiative and exploring new areas of sustainability in the future.”

Maha Festival zero waste volunteers
About 800 volunteers helped make the Maha Festival a zero-waste success again this year. Photo above left by Ben Semisch. Photo above right by Jamie Wagner.

Community efforts

As OPPD works toward its goal of net-zero carbon production by 2050, it understands the importance of supporting this kind of community effort, said Laurie Zagurski, manager, Stakeholder & Community Outreach.

“This zero-waste achievement is an example of the difference people can make when they make even small changes,” Zagurski said. “One person’s efforts might not move the needle, but when people as a community commit to environmental sustainability initiatives, they can help ensure a better future.”

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About Julie Wasson

Julie Wasson is the brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District and the editor of The Wire. She has more than 25 years of print journalism and social media experience, including two stints at the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Julie Wasson >

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