Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

This article appeared on October 23, 2006 in the Watauga Democrat, Boone, NC . It was written by Frank Ruggiero.

Council approves zero growth
By Frank Ruggiero

Boone may become a zero-waste community, after the Boone Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution to move in such a direction.

Council members Lynne Mason and Rennie Brantz worked with Jasmine ShoShanna, founder of the High Country’s Gardens for Humanity and Zero Waste program, on the resolution.

“We’ve had several meetings, and I think we are beginning to formulate an important vision for the future of Boone,” Brantz said at last Thursday’s regular meeting of the Boone Town Council, “and I’m very excited about what work’s been accomplished already and what’s in the works.”

ShoShanna addressed the council, saying the town has done well in looking at the future for generations to come. “Part of what that means is looking at waste in our community,” she said.
She noted that the county’s landfill is full and said trash is shipped to Johnson City, Tenn. for approximately $1 million a year. Furthermore, ShoShanna said Johnson City’s landfill has a life expectancy of 60 to 80 more years.

“So, what are we going to do with all this trash we keep accumulating?” she asked.

While some areas throughout the state and nation are considering regional landfills and similar options, ShoShanna said those are not good solutions, especially when environmentally-friendly and productive solutions are easily at hand.

ShoShanna said 60 to 90 percent of trash can be safely composted and converted into usable topsoil.

“This resolution is a first step in that direction in looking at how we can minimize waste, protect the environment, (and) work on composting more of our trash and turning it into topsoil,” she said.

The resolution says, a zero-waste plan will promote a disposal hierarchy of “reduce, reuse, compost, recycle” for garbage, including paper, reusables, polymers, putrescibles, construction, demolition, ceramics, wood, plant debris, textiles, soils, metals, glass and chemicals “into processes that will address local problems with local solutions, employ local people in new jobs, and enhance our community and environment.”

The resolution also notes that waste stream reductions of 80 percent for composting organics, 40 percent for recycling, and 20 percent for reusing are possible, while facilities for such “protect and enhance the environment, provide local jobs, sustainable economic opportunity and security.”

The resolution recognizes that voluntary recycling goals probably cannot achieve waste elimination, while pointing out that the town adopted the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. The agreement was adopted in September, with the town pledging to reduce global warming and carbon dioxide pollution citywide to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Mason moved to adopt the resolution supporting the creation of a zero waste plan, and council member Bunk Spann seconded.

“Other communities, both in North Carolina and nationwide, are adopting similar resolutions, and this will be the kick-off for us to work on other community efforts to help people look at ways to reduce, reuse, compost and recycle,” Mason said. “These will become common words that the community will get used to, as we become better stewards of the environment in the place that we call home.”

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