EIA President and CEO Addresses SEJ on Sustainability at 23rd Annual Conference
Sharon H. Kneiss discusses waste management in sustainable communities, waste as a resource
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2013) – Environmental Industry Associations President and CEO Sharon H. Kneiss addressed the Society for Environmental Journalists (SEJ), speaking on waste management’s role in achieving community sustainability at SEJ’s 23rd Annual Conference Friday in Chattanooga.
The conference’s theme for 2013 is “Sustainable Cities.” Kneiss participated as a panelist in the conference’s opening plenary session, “Just What Is a Sustainable City?” during which she emphasized the private sector waste and recycling industry’s evolution and its responsibility as a partner in the push for community sustainability.
“Private waste companies are leaders and drivers toward sustainability and want to see waste used as a resource,” said Kneiss. “Their goal is every city as a sustainable city, and they truly want to be partners in achieving that.”
Kneiss discussed a number of factors that have led to the evolution of the waste stream in terms of what comprises it, how much goes into it and how it is handled. With the advent of new technologies and systems that have reduced growth in the waste stream and increased recycling rates, she said one focus in driving community sustainability should be on extracting value from the waste stream.
“Given the current economy and a greater-than-ever need for efficiency and sustainability, communities are taking a keener eye to viewing waste as a resource, or they should be,” said Kneiss. “With continued innovation in recycling systems, waste-to-energy capabilities and renewable energy technologies, that resource is increasing in value.”
Steve Curwood, host of National Public Radio’s “Living on Earth” program, moderated the panel, which also featured Jim Frierson, vice chair of the Chattanooga Green Committee; Dodd Galbreath, executive director and assistant professor at Lipscomb University’s Institute for Sustainable Practice; and Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day and developer of The Bullitt Center in Seattle.