Nederland Trustees zero in on waste

John Scarffe, Nederland. The Town of Nederland Board of Trustees explored options for zero waste special events and the Nedzero website during their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

As discussed on May 5, the Municipal Code governing special events allows staff to promulgate rules necessary for the orderly planning and permitting of events. Since 2012, Town staff has encouraged zero waste practices at all permitted events, at the direction of the current Board of Trustees.

With the recent direction of the Board, these activities will now be mandated, including creation and submittal of a zero waste plan that includes staffed recycling and composting stations or contracting to a waste management company that will handle all waste collection. The plan also requires that no trash stations will be provided at the event; that vendor service materials be compostable at the local transfer station; vendors must provide their own zero waste stations, separate from attendee stations; event decorations and signage must be reusable or compostable. All waste diversion must be tracked and reported to the Town in the post-event documents.

The Board requested at its meeting of May 5 added rules for zero waste for special events beyond the encouraged plans currently undertaken.

The Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) forwarded its recommendations to the Board for consideration alongside the Buds, Burgers, and Beers event deliberations on July 1, 2014.

SAB’s recommendations related to festivals included increasing landfill diversion rates and a list of requirements for vendors that would mandate big clear signage, non-fossil fuel power or shore power (wind credit options), local talent consisting of 25 to 50 percent performers, incentivizing promoters to attract local Boulder County and Gilpin County vendors, promoting local businesses, capping attendance at 2,500 people, adding one zero-waste station per 250 people, and manned stations for closed festivals.

The SAB also recommended no trash receptacles made available (pack in/pack out principles), green practices recognition programs, shuttle service required, public transit and counting people for free parking, and a conscious alliance example food donation. The plan would align the Town with the Boulder County Zero Waste Initiative, to which the Town signed on in 2012.

Town Administrator Alisha Reis said the Town has already been practicing this for four years so it won’t be a big surprise to vendors.

“It’s nothing new,” Reis said. “We will be just moving to the mandating phase.”

With two trustees absent, the Board agreed to move consideration of the plan to summer, with implementation currently scheduled for the summer of 2016.

The Board also heard options to continue the #NedZero goals website. #NedZero has evolved out of Nederland’s Sustainability Action Plan into a living dynamic platform.

It is designed to be an engaging and collaboration tool for the Nederland community. Toward the end of 2013, Jesse Seavers and Alvin Mites of Nederland presented the Board with a software development plan for tracking and monitoring Nederland’s progress toward its goals.

At that time, the Trustees suggested that Seavers and Mites bring them something as a working prototype, before asking for funding for a project. Earlier this year Seavers and Mayor Joe Gierlach presented the working prototype of the newly launched #NedZero platform.

Since the presentation of the prototype, 33 earlier adopters have signed up to contribute to the vision via Trello’s version of #NedZero. This innovative approach to planning and implanting public sustainability goals has gathered interest around the state and traction among the town staff and the Board.

Historically, on September 2, 2014, the Board adopted the Master Infrastructure Plan and approved the Sustainability Action Plan, created the Emergency Preparedness Action Committee and incorporated all of this into #NedZero. STAR Program items are incorporated into #NedZero.

On March 13, 2015, the prototype was completed and the presentation was featured at the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute conference with much acclaim from professional planners across the country. The Board received three options and approved Option Two: Active Support, everything in Option One, plus five hours per month of weekly promotion, discussion and feedback with users and stakeholders; debugging the platform as needed; and active support and promotion of the existing platform.

Option One will include cloud hosting, low level administration and support, and passive continuation of the existing platforms. The Board approved the contract with a total expenditure of $2,500. Any expenditure above that will have to return to the Board as part of the 2016 budget process, according to Reis.

The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center.