Spokane Jeweler Inducted into WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
On May 1, 2012, during the Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) conference in Spokane, WA, the WSRA inducted Spokane bead and jewelry findings supplier Russ Nobbs into the WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame, based on over 20 years of Public Event Recycling in the Inland Northwest.
Rings & Things owner Russ Nobbs does not remember a time when he didn't recycle or compost. Growing up on a small fruit and dairy farm, kitchen scraps went to the chickens or the pigs. Manure was spread in the vineyards.
Russ made and sold jewelry at fairs and festivals in the 60's, published a radical environmental paper in the 70's, and then opened a Spokane jewelry and crafts supply store. The little store, Rings & Things, grew to become one of the nation's larger bead, findings and jewelry supply houses. Rings & Things renovated an old concrete building as their new warehouse, reusing and recycling everything possible.
While working with an 80's folk music and crafts festival in downtown Spokane, Russ was asked to coordinate collection of recyclables. He provided some barrels, labeled them, and set them next to the trash cans. It worked! After this success, he volunteered his services to the much larger ArtFest, an art and music festival produced by Spokane's Museum of Arts and Culture. Working with volunteers, he patrolled the event, moving recyclables from the trash into the adjacent recycling container. 2012 will be Russ Nobbs' 21st year of recycling at ArtFest.
Says David Brum, ArtFest Director, "Russ not only professionally organizes our entire recycling planning process and our on-site recycling efforts and recruits his own volunteers, he also tirelessly volunteers roughly 40-hours of his personal time over the three-days of ArtFest, briskly walking through the park collecting large amounts of recyclable products visitors leave behind."
Based on the ArtFest success, Russ lobbied other festivals and street fairs to add recycling. For some he offered equipment and services. He helped others set up their own recycling processes. He helped convince the annual River Clean Up to separate recyclables from the tons of trash collected along the river.
In 2007, Washington State adopted a law requiring recycling at music and sporting events. Russ stepped up his work by providing equipment and volunteering to handle recycling at many events. When Spokane Regional Solid Waste System (SRSWS) purchased Clearstream containers, Russ adopted them and purchased his own supply to augment what SRSWS owned. The container "lending library" now boasts some 400 containers from SRSWS, Bloomsday, Hoopfest and Russ's business Rings & Things.
Several years ago Russ added food scrap collection to his event services. Last year Russ worked with SRSWS and the Master Composter program to collect food scraps at even more events in a push towards Zero Waste events.
According to Steve Faust, Spokane River Cleanup Chair, "It is no exaggeration to say that Russ Nobbs is the heart and soul of the Spokane River Cleanup. As with so many other community events, Russ is always there with a friendly smile, a kind word of support, and a willingness to get his hands dirty in the service of his community."
For more information about the WSRA conference and awards presentation, visit www.wsra.net or call (206) 244-0311. You can contact Russ Nobbs directly at (509) 252-2900 x101.