Public Comment: Zero Waste Amherst Proposal Would Provide Universal Compost Pickup, Significantly Reducing Waste And Saving Residents Money

Photo: Zero Waste Amherst

The following public comment was submitted in writing to the Amherst board of health on April 14 for their meeting of April 21.

I am Darcy DuMont. I live in South Amherst and am a member of Zero Waste Amherst. As you know, I have been working with others on the proposal to transition our waste hauler system to one of a town contract with the hauler which includes compost pick up and costs residents less.

This is a brief update on news and actions taken in the last month by Zero Waste Amherst to move the proposal forward.

IPCC
On April 4, the IPPC issued yet another warning about the narrow window we have to take action on climate. As I mentioned last month, trash reduction is a climate justice issue. The ZWA proposal has the potential of reducing our town trash by about 40%, with the accompanying reduction in climate emissions and general air pollution. It is notable that this specific proposal is included in our town’s Climate Action, Adaptation and Resilience Plan.


This month, the ZWA workgroup saw a lot of excitement building for the proposal.

TOWN COUNCILOR SUPPORT

ZWA met with more Town Councilors this month, to educate them and gain their support for the proposal – and are hearing full and enthusiastic support.

ZERO WASTE COMMUNITY OUTREACH

ZWA plans to conduct a zero waste survey of residents this spring and will be handing out flyers at the Farmers Market and other locations. We will have a UMass intern to help with the outreach.

ECO CYCLE

This month, we met with Ecocycle, one of the oldest and largest non-profit recyclers and Zero Waste organizations in the U.S., with an international reputation as a pioneer and innovator in resource conservation. Eco Cycle has been campaigning in municipalities surrounding Boulder, Colorado with the goal of converting hauling services to municipal contracts that include universal compost pick up. One of the communities where they have had great success is Louisville, Colorado, which is served by Republic Services. ZWA is looking at Louisville as a model for our proposal.

See Eco-cycle’s recycling sorting game.

MORE ENDORSERS

We added to our list of endorsers. It now stands at:

  • Amherst Board of Health. (Thanks!)
  • Amherst Energy and Climate Action Committee
  • Amherst League of Women Voters
  • Climate Action Now Western MA
  • Mothers Out Front, Amherst 
  • Amherst Common Share Food Coop
  • UMass Student Farming Enterprise
  • UUSA Green Sanctuary Committee
  • Zero Waste Central Valley
  • Sierra Club, MA Chapter
  • Community Action Works (Formerly Toxics Action Center)  

Again, ZWA is promoting this proposal because it will dramatically reduce waste and help achieve our climate and zero waste goals. The fact that it will save residents money is an added benefit..

We’d be glad to answer any questions and otherwise, will see you next month with our next update on the proposal. If any board of health member would like to meet with us individually to get a briefing, please let us know.

Darcy DuMont is a founding member of Zero Waste Amherst and of Local Energy Advocates of Western MA. As a town councilor, she sponsored the legislation creating the Amherst Energy and Climate Action Committee.

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