Forum discusses single-stream recycling in Carson City
November 14, 2017
Carson City is considering single-stream recycling, but it may take a community effort to make it happen.
"The Board of Supervisors is very interested in looking at mandatory single-stream recycling. It will require a lot of public outreach," said City Manager Nick Marano.
"It's important that everyone that feels strongly about it actually participates to make sure your voices are heard."
Marano moderated a panel on sustainable living hosted by Sierra Nevada Forums in the Brewery Arts Center's Performance Hall on Tuesday.
The panel also discussed urban farming and energy efficiency. Marano kicked it off with the key concepts for sustainable cities, which include public transportation and complete streets as well as energy efficiency and recycling.
Carson City is in the process of writing a request for proposal for its next waste management contract, which will be awarded in 2018.
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If single-stream recycling is included and required it will be a big change for roughly 20 percent of Carson City residents who don't use the city's waste management services now.
"For recycling to work, especially if it's mandatory, we're going to need everyone to be involved in the program," said Marano.
Carson City in 2016 recycled roughly 27 percent of its waste, slightly higher than the state's goal of 25 percent.
"Carson City has good recycling numbers," said Jeanne Lear, human resources manager, South Tahoe Refuse and Douglas Disposal, one of three panelists.
Lear said the markets for recycled commodities fluctuate.
"The materials are not going to pay for program so you have to base it on desire for it in community," she said.
Another way to help fund recycling, Lear said, is through so-called bottle bills, legislation that requires a deposit on bottles, which raises money and encourages recycling.
Craig Frezzette talked about City Green Gardens, his urban farm in Reno.
In 2009, Frezzette, who was an avid gardner, was laid off from his job so he started researching community agriculture.
He turned his less than one-acre property into a small farm and started a community-supported agriculture business with 25 members who paid to receive weekly boxes of produce.
Eventually, he added three hoop houses to the farm so he could grow year round and now sells directly to seven restaurants, all within three miles of his property.
"They are very appreciative. They know their food tastes really good, and their customers can tell," said Frezzette.
To encourage more urban farms, he suggested cities look at zoning to make it easier.
He said he lives two miles from downtown Reno, and that he has to deliver all his produce, rather than have customers visit the farm, due to zoning restrictions.
Tom Polikalas, Nevada representative for South West Energy's Efficiency Program, talked about ways homeowners can save money through energy efficiency, including using LED bulbs, sealing and insulation.
He said homeowners can get a free audit through NVEnergy's Powershift program and some programs, such as the Governor's Office of Energy's Home Energy Retrofit Opportunities, can help finance some improvements.
And the city as well as the homeowner usually reap the benefit.
"People will spend the savings locally," said Polikalas.
For more information, visit sustainability.carson.org for local resources on energy efficiency, recycling, conservation, and living greener.