This week I am in wonderful Monterey at SWANA’s collage of symposia combining Landfill, Landfill Gas, and Recycling (Road to Zero Waste) curricula, upon which I will have much to say next week.
For the moment, however, I would like to report on a public program with which I am involved, the City of Oxnard, CA, Environmental Resources Division’s “On the Road to Zero Waste” community input planning exercise. The plan will serve as a roadmap to reduce waste going to the landfill, increase reuse and recycling opportunities, generate clean energy, and explore new policies and technologies in order to conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On October 1, 2013, the Oxnard City Council reviewed and approved the Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station Business and Operations Transition Plan, leading to the return of management, operation and maintenance of the city-owned facility from private control to the city earlier this year.
Next on the agenda was the first of a series of workshops in which the community is given the opportunity to address the issues that most concern them through the development of an action plan.
The second in the series of public meeting took place last Saturday at the Del Norte facility, during which attendees were asked to share their ideas on the city’s action plan, guiding principles, and vision statement...discussion items shown below.
City of Oxnard Zero Waste Action Plan
March 22, 2014
• Welcome and Introductions
• Overview of February 22, 2014 Stakeholders Meeting
• Review of Selected “Guiding Principles”
• Working Session to Define the “Zero Waste” Vision
• Evaluation Factors for Selecting Programs and Policies
• Working Session on Evaluation and Selection of Programs and Policies
• Overview of Potential Zero Waste Programs and Policies (Goals)
• Draft City of Oxnard AB 341 Mandatory Commercial Recycling Policy
• Additional Question/Answer and What’s Next
Selected Guiding Principles
February 22, 2014 Stakeholders Meeting
1. Protects the environment and the public's health
2. “Leadership by Example” (city is a model for zero waste practices)
3. Provides convenience for residents and businesses
4. Creates incentives (e.g., financial, and other)
5. Promotes new safe technology and infrastructure
6. Promotes environmental and social justice
7. Creates meaningful jobs/careers
8. Expand outreach and marketing efforts (e.g., youths, business, etc.)
9. Promotes education of waste reduction, recycling, and sustainability
10. Cost effectiveness
City of Oxnard's Council-Approved Sustainability Goal
Key Phrases for the Vision Statement
• “Conservation-based” or “recycling based” economy
• Zero Waste to landfill
• Self-determination regarding the city’s ability to operate its own waste management program
• Cost effectiveness for residents and businesses
• Achieving reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
• Consistency of integrated waste management hierarchy
• Beneficial utilization (e.g., highest and best use) of solid waste as a resource
• Enhance opportunities for local economic development
• Creation of green jobs
• Maximizes opportunities for participation by residents and businesses
• “Continual Improvement”
During the break period, Del Norte staff showed examples of materials the expanded facility would be able to divert from the landfill, but for me the high point of the morning was the presentation by Oxnard City Corps member, Ameer Atrash, explaining his organization’s role in conducting waste sorts. Oxnard City Corps is a community-service learning program built to affect the positive youth development of 12- to 24-year-olds. Project-based service learning activities enable youth experiences that facilitate civic responsibility and active citizenship, foster leadership development, enable the discernment of career pathways, and nurture personal growth and initiative.
On January 30, an Oxnard City Corps team of 15 enrolled as students in an eight-hour waste management course taught by Eugene Tseng. Tseng is an environmental attorney, professor, and engineer, and is an expert on environmental sustainability and zero waste planning and implementation.
The City Corps team learned the global and local context of waste management and environmental sustainability. The team also learned, through hands-on activities, how to conduct a waste characterization study. Such a study will help the city plan for future waste management and recycling needs in the context of new laws and policies regarding waste reduction.
Instructor Tseng teaches Peter about different types of “packaging” and its characterization during the training.
We’ll be following the progress of the project in the belief that the lessons learned in Oxnard will be valuable to others embarking on the same journey.