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From: "Peter Anderson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Zero Waste in Boulder
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 22:29:26 -0600
Commissioners announce 'zero waste' policy
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:49 PM MST
Colorado Daily Staff Report
The Boulder County Commissioners took a significant step forward on
Tuesday when they adopted "Zero Waste" as a guiding principle for
government decision-making, according to a county press release.
This move puts Boulder County in the company of some other
progressive communities, such as San Francisco and New Zealand, that
are also taking significant action to eliminate the concept of waste
management and instead create systems for "resource management." The
policy proposed by the Commissioners requires that a "Zero Waste
Plan for Boulder County" be completed by the end of next year.
"The idea that waste and its resulting pollution and environmental
devastation is a necessary evil no longer holds true," said Eric
Lombardi, Eco-Cycle Executive Director and President of the national
zero waste organization, the GrassRoots Recycling Network.
"Waste is a result of bad decision-making, and with the right
mixture of leadership and incentives those decisions can be changed.
The elimination of 'waste' isn't a technological problem; it is an
economic and political opportunity to change the rules of society
such that industry designs everything, and I do mean everything, to
be easily reused, recycled or composted. Colorado ranks near the
bottom in national recycling rates, but our county elected officials
have been working closely with Eco-Cycle and other stake holders to
set a different example of true resource conservation for the state
and for the rest of the nation," said Lombardi.
The County Commissioners are adopting Zero Waste as a guiding
principal for all county operations and for outreach and actions
within the community. The County staff has been directed to develop
a Zero Waste Plan for Boulder County that will address Boulder
County "the organization," and Boulder County "the community and
geographic area." Boulder County is committing to "promote,
facilitate, and model Zero Waste in the community."
The Plan will be designed to achieve the initial goal of increasing
waste diversion from the landfill for the Boulder County government
and for the county as a whole to 50 percent or better by the year
2010. The ultimate goal of Boulder County's Zero Waste Plan is to
design systems that eliminate the production of waste and achieve
Zero Waste or "darn near" by 2025.
Boulder County has no landfills within its borders and all of the
discarded materials from homes and businesses that aren't recovered
are sent to landfills in Weld and Jefferson counties. Over the last
year there has been a contentious battle over expanding the "trash
mountain" in Erie, with neighbors voicing concern for the toxins
emitted from the landfill and from the impact to their property
values. In the end the landfill company won.
Landfills are the number one source of human-made methane, the
second most important greenhouse gas, as well as the source of
"leachate," a toxic liquid that will eventually seep into the
groundwater under every landfill ever built. The last landfill to
operate in Boulder County, Marshall Landfill, was closed in 1992 and
declared a Superfund site due to groundwater contamination of
Broomfield's drinking water. Since closing, the City of Boulder and
the landfill owner have spent over $14 million in groundwater and
site clean-up activities.