Zero Waste Subcommittee Update (beginning of the update missed – incomplete notes)
Next Meeting: Monday Oct. 23rd at 2pm at the Russell Yard.
New developments in the city: discussion on the importance of new developments being configured to accommodate recycling. Should new buildings be required to have bins/systems to hold recycling and for haulers to easily pick it up? Detroit Environmental Agenda was worked on this idea a little bit, so the subject has been broached but it thus far hasn’t been explicitly focused on. Looking forward, perhaps the committee/Green Task Force and work with developers and the city to develop an ordinance on this. Banning plastic bags and/or polystyrene takeout containers: Discussion on banning these items in the city. However, there is legislation the prohibits the implementation of a ban on plastic bags. But perhaps the language allows room for a tax or other mechanism to recede use without a ban? Need to look into this more closely. Example that Chicago had a terrible time with a plastic bag ban, but had success with a tax. The policy protecting plastic bags in Detroit also protects polystyrene from a ban as well. However, several of the newest restaurants, especially in midtown, are using alternatives, so we can look more into alternatives and how we can make them more attractive to other businesses.
Renewable Energy Subcommittee Update
Meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of the month at Socra Tea in Midtown. Current focus on solar, especially community solar. Also taking a look at bio-digesters
Background: this is a relatively young/new subcommittee. It was born from the Blue-Green Infrastructure subcommittee when they realized that energy wasn’t/couldn’t be focused on thoroughly enough when they had one group to cover so many topics.
Mission: to increase awareness, dissemination of information, and outreach around renewable energy, provide policy suggestions, and be the 3rd party steward of the city ensuring that the best interest is upheld.
The Challenge: the difficulty is that there isn’t any cookie-cutter policy to ramp up renewable energy implementation in cities. Another is the need to bring soft costs down. Biggest barrier in Detroit specifically is that there isn’t any ordinance to handle the permitting and process of installing solar. Setting simple system of requirements would streamline the process to make it easy for residents.
Strategy: adoption of more solar friendly policy in Detroit. Increase the amount of renewable energy installed in Detroit.
– Identify organizations to share information with
– Identify organizations who reach different audiences to illustrate relevance of renewable energy to the community members they serve.
– Create solar powered warming/cooling centers.
– Challenge city council to be champions within their districts – challenge business to improve their own sustainability.
– Help establish solar friendly solar policy in Detroit.
– Before 2020 get into the megawatts of solar.
Blue Green Infrastructure Subcommittee Update: representative not present…
Composting Subcommittee Update
Have meetings on the first thursday of the month, rotating evenings and morning.
Mission: Instigate and cultivate mindsets, will, conditions, and civic engagement, that lead to ever increasing diversion of Detroit produced compostable organic materials from landfills or incinerators. Also to ensure that we have some place to divert it too. On all scales, from large business to households.
Strategy and goals:
– Support legislators and leaders in the communities in informing, influencing and supporting the development of sustainable city-wide decentralized organics recycling (composting) ecosystems and infrastructure. Looking to harness leverage and for natural affinities.
– Shared vision and goals: Align national, state, city and community policy levels. Include composting in Detroit Environmental Agenda.
– Regulatory conditions: Align local legislation (zoning and conditions) with state legislation.
– Two Systems processes: City-level (piggy-back on recycling in municipal buildings and public spaces) and community/neighborhood level (closed loop food system).
– Leadership: Grow leadership and stewardship coalition through boundary spanning and networking (internalize societal, business, government, academic knoweldge/research on the topic).
– Build capacity and competency through action based learning and collaborative work.
– Culture, behavior and practice change: Public education and engagement (designed conversations). Establish management strategy and plans. Establish reflective monitoring and feedforward/feedback methods.
Discussion on how to inform and support market development (supply, demand) for compost products. We need to make sure there is a place to use/send composting products! Let demand help drive this change. How do we do this?
Ideas for Resources: Us Compost Council