Walla Walla 2020: A Waste Prevention Ordinance for Walla Walla
Goals and Objectives
This internship had two main objectives: 1) Research waste prevention ordinances in other cities and counties, 2) Draft a waste prevention ordinance for Walla Walla based on research and specific needs of the city.
My first priority was to meet with my supervisor, Sandra Cannon. In our first meeting we discussed the previously mentioned goals and objectives. Sandra suggested Kitsap County as a location in which to start my research. We both decided that in my research I should pay special attention to the focus (governmental, citizen or both), wording, implementation, and results of various ordinances. I conducted most of my research by visiting city and county websites as well as non-profit websites. The non-profit websites tended to provide valuable information for government agencies/businesses about how to implement a waste reduction policy/ordinance.
Over the course of my research I focused on two governmental case studies: New York City , NY and Kitsap County , WA . I turned up over 150 pages of useful material, including but not limited to: the exact wording of both the Kitsap County ordinance and the New York mayoral directive, information on the Waste Wi$e and Wa$te Exchange programs of Kitsap County, the Kitsap County Public Works Solid Waste Division 2002 Annual Report, procedures implemented by New York, and suggested procedures put forth by the non-profit organization INFORM.
The ordinances of the two case studies focused largely on what their actual government offices and departments could do to reduce waste but also had community outreach programs to increase community knowledge and interest in waste reduction. The ordinances also increased the possibility for community involvement in waste reduction by doing things such as increasing the number of recyclable products the city/county recycling company would collect. Both case studies, in addition to waste reduction, had a large focus on environmental purchasing. Environmental purchasing was an important aspect that had not been explored by Walla Walla 2020 at the onset of the internship. I took the time to consolidate, as much as possible, the main aspects of what can be done to reduce waste and purchase environmentally mentioned in all the documents I accumulated. That summary is in Appendix II. I couldn't find any numbers for New York , but the waste prevention ordinance in Kitsap County saved the government approx. $128,000 in 2002.
After conducting the research on my two case studies I met with Sandra a second time. The meeting left us with several conclusions. First, we decided to expand our waste reduction ordinance to include environmental purchasing. Second, we planned to model our ordinance after Kitsap County 's, seeing as they saved money, prevented waste, and were recognized by the EPA two years running for excellence in waste managment. Third, after e-mailing employees of Kitsap County government we were instructed that setting up a Wa$te Exchange program first would help the overall chances for success in implementing an ordinance. This is due to the fact that a Wa$te Exchange program would involve and inform all the city departments. I left that meeting with two objectives, 1) familiarize myself with how the Walla Walla city government departments are structured and 2) write a preliminary draft of a waste reduction and environmental purchasing ordinance for the City of Walla Walla .
It ended up that familiarizing myself with the structure of the Walla Walla city government was more or less irrelevant when it came to writing the waste prevention ordinance draft. Kitsap County had chosen Public Works to oversee their waste prevention ordinance. They annually dictated the general measures, methods, and goals for waste prevention and were the department to which all other departments filed annual progress reports and department specific goals. After familiarizing myself with the departmental structure of Walla Walla I still had no way of knowing what department, if any, the city would want to oversee the ordinance (the city could choose an individual such as the City Manager to oversee the ordinance). That was a job for members of the city government to decide, not the job of a temporary intern. So I used the term ‘City of Walla Walla ' whenever talking about the creation of objectives or decision making processes as opposed to any specific department or person of power/responsibility.
As I mentioned earlier this waste prevention ordinance was heavily modeled after Kitsap County 's. Changes ended up being largely cosmetic. The ordinance was shifted to work under the structure of a city government as opposed to a county government. Slight changes in rhetoric were made to the Walla Walla draft. Those changes included but were not limited to establishing reuse as the primary waste management technique instead of recycling and shifting the placement of focus to environmental purchasing instead of toxic material reduction (toxic materials was a genuine problem for Kitsap County and is less so in Walla Walla). Other changes included mostly the reduction of redundant fraises, unnecessary sections, and directives not applicable to Walla Walla . After writing the draft proposal it went through a series of several revisions. I met with Sandra Cannon and Barbara Clark, a member of the Walla Walla city council, for the first set of revisions. After making any necessary corrections I e-mailed the draft to Sandra for a second run-through. After making her final suggested revisions I submitted the draft along with my five page summary of implementation ideas (Appendix II) to Sandra and that ended my internship. That draft is in Appendix I.
The draft could currently be involved in any of the following processes. First, the draft needs to be reviewed by lawyers in order to make sure it holds together and is written in a legal fashion. That entails possible changes in word choice in the instance that neither Sandra, Barbara, nor I realized that what we had written did not work legally. It also entails reviewing all the WHEREAS statements at the beginning of the draft. They must be cross-checked for their validity and to make sure that there are no new laws that have been enacted since 1996 that might affect the ordinance. The draft then needs to be presented to City Council. The process of getting the draft on the council's agenda during their meetings could take several months. On top of that Sandra and Barbara are in the process of talking directly to other members of the city council to gage their opinion on the ordinance and any possible concerns they might have. Sandra and Barbara, at the time of my last meeting with them, were worried that the City Council might reject the ordinance because it did not include, specifically, College Place and possibly other nearby cities. They also wondered why it shouldn't include other cities if implementing the ordinance was better for the environment. In response to that their other worry was that if they tried to present it to too many cities they would severely limit the possibility of the ordinance getting passed. Those last considerations were again simply mentioned during our last meeting, I do not know if they were pursued.
Successes, Problems, and Time Commitment
Overall I would say my average time commitment to this internship was 7-8 hours per week. The high weekly commitment was augmented by the fact that I finished the internship halfway through the semester. My only logistical problem was the sheer amount of information I had to absorb. I figure, however, that it was better than having no information at all. Creating a waste reduction and environmental purchasing policy from scratch would have been quite the daunting task. The internship flowed smoothly and, in my opinion, ended successfully. I, however, assume the true measure of successful will be made by City Council and their choice to adopt or not adopt the ordinance. At the onset of the internship Sandra warned me that the process of getting the city to adopt the ordinance will most likely take 2-3 years, if it even happens at all. So, I'm not expecting much. Sandra and I were both enthusiastic and got along quite well. Working with her was an excellent experience. The only personal problem I encountered was the let down I felt after the internship ended. I had just finished drafting the ordinance and was promptly yanked out of the process. It was hard to watch something I had helped create move beyond my ability to affect it. Logistically I completely understand why I could be of no more service: a) I wasn't a lawyer, b) I didn't know any of the city council members, c) I didn't have knowledge of the inner workings and processes of Walla Walla city government, and d) the proposal probably wouldn't get on the city council agenda before the end of the semester. Regardless, I didn't relish walking away.
Recommendations for the Future
I will have to base any recommendations for the future on how well (or poorly) the proposal draft of the ordinance is received by the city. If it is accepted I could easily see a student working with the city to create and implement various programs to prevent waste, especially in the realm of community outreach and awareness. If it is rejected a student could also discern why it didn't pass and rework the ordinance proposal to make it more acceptable, in the hopes of it being passed on a second go-around.
Reflections, Experience, & Learning
This has been an overwhelming beneficial experience. Prior to this internship I had absolutely no familiarity with the creation of public policy. I've discovered that I love it. I feel as though my energy is being put toward a worthy cause, something that is more than simply pointing out problems with the system, but rather trying to fix them. I am a physics/environmental studies major. My plan was to gain a few years of volunteer/work experience after college and then most likely apply to graduate school as an Environmental Engineer. This internship has called into question that plan. I would seriously consider following a path in public policy after this experience. I still hope to gain experience in the field of environmental engineering in order to discern which field my skills can most benefit the environmental movement.
In terms of the field of public policy itself, I am amazed by how daunting it is. There are so many ways to reduce waste and purchase environmentally. The amount of thought and work that goes into creating those management techniques, let alone the process of successfully implementing them on a city or county government is hard for me to imagine. On top of that, I realize I am just working with one ordinance. Ordinances and laws are trying to get passed on so many fronts. I am beginning to realize now how much work goes on behind the scenes of government, even at the city level, that the average citizen simply doesn't know about. I also wonder how many new regulations government officials have to report on, such as a waste prevention ordinance, and how that might affect them getting their actual jobs done, or if new employees need to hired to help with an increasing work load.
Dave Peters and Vicki Bushnell
Recycling Coordinator Kitsap County Public Works
Kitsap County Solid Waste Division Solid Waste Division MS 27
614 Division Street, MS-27 614 Division St.
Port Orchard , WA 98366 Port Orchard , WA 98366
Walla Walla , WA 99362
Proposed Waste Prevention Ordinance for City of Walla Walla
An ordinance to decrease waste in the City of Walla Walla government operations by promoting the efficient use of resources, the purchasing of environmentally preferred products, replacing toxic products with less toxic alternatives, and establishing reuse and then recycling as the preferred solid waste management practices for all City operations.
WHEREAS, the National Association of Counties has launched a campaign to help counties increase their use of environmentally preferred products and services in county operations without compromising budgetary or performance requirements;
WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established preferred product standards which have been adopted as the minimum standards for the State of Washington in RCW 43.19A.020;
WHEREAS, RCW 70.95.010 (15) states that "all government entities in the state should set an example by implementing aggressive waste reduction and recycling programs at their workplaces and by purchasing products that are made from recycled materials and are recyclable;"
WHEREAS, Chapter 43.19A RCW, encourages local governments to take actions to substantially increase the procurement of recycled-content products and to provide a model to encourage a comparable commitment by Washington State citizens and businesses;
WHEREAS, as stated in RCW 70.105.150, "the health and welfare of the people of the state depend on clean and pure environmental resources unaffected by hazardous waste contamination. Management and regulation of hazardous waste disposal should encourage practices which result in the least amount of waste being produced;" and
WHEREAS the City of Walla Walla can conserve energy, water, and other natural resources while simultaneously reducing city expenses and setting an example for the local business community;
THEREFORE, the Walla Walla City Council now adopts:
SECTION I: PURPOSE
This ordinance establishes the Walla Walla City waste prevention program to achieve the following goals:
SECTION II: DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBILITIES
Each year, to facilitate the implementation of this ordinance, the City of Walla Walla will develop a set of waste prevention objectives for the calendar year specific to each department, a target date for completion of each objective, and a one-page progress report form. The waste prevention objectives are designed to:
To meet objectives, the City will develop guidelines for preventing waste, which might include:
Each department will use the preferred product and purchasing source list and goals for purchases. The City Manager will present a progress report to the City Council each year by January 31 st .
SECTION III: GENERAL PROVISIONS
The City of Walla Walla shall provide written notice requiring its contractors and consultants to comply with the requirements of this ordinance while fulfilling contractual obligations to the city.
SECTION IV: EFFECTIVE DATE
To be determined
Aspects of Waste Reduction & Environmental Purchasing Policies:
With Focus on Kitsap County and New York City
Note: Kitsap County and NYC policies commonly overlap, Kitsap policies are listed first and anything that NYC does which Kitsap does not is then listed. Also, NYC does not implement all policies listed under Kitsap County .
Exceedingly important, most government institutions create such policies to set an example. An example does no good if no one knows its being set.
Kitsap County :
Make Waste Reduction and Environmental Purchasing information available online for citizens & businesses
Pamphlets available at distribution centers throughout county (town in our case)
Create an Open Line phone-in service to answer questions about Public Works
Distribute Waste Disposal Information to local business
Sponsor and Participate in Community Events
Recycling X-mas trees
Recycling, energy/water conservation, etc. workshops
Earth Day events/awards
In all forms of outreach use the least amount of resources possible in distributing message
Solid Waste Division supported the efforts of Corrections Division litter pickup inmate crew
Created a toll free number to report littering, posted signs, and ran public service announcements on the radio and television. Vinyl clings were also placed on the back window of all public works vehicles
Taught in classrooms
Fees for people arriving at Dump Stations with uncovered loads
Pilot program where brightly colored litter collection bags were purchased for residents to use on regular walks and take to a drop-box facility or transfer station when full
Illegal Dumping Prevention
Identify the majority of what makes up illegal dumping (furniture in Kitsap) and created two days a year where furniture could be dropped off at the dump free of charge. Amnesty was provided solely for amnesty items and proof of residency had to be provided.
Voucher Program for collecting white goods, mattresses, yard debris, and other problem waste not normally collected at the curbside
Increase the amount of goods which can be recycled
Use recycled glass as an aggregate in local construction (ex. Wall backfill, pipe bedding, road construction, landscape top dressing) because recycled glass supply far exceeds demand
Curbside collection of yard debris in burn ban areas
Promote home composting
Have demonstrations and workshops at scheduled times and during environmental events
Contract out to chipper/landscape companies who can process yard debris into wood chips or compost
Work with local Home Builders Association to create a program similar to Built Green
Creates a scale of standards awarded to new residential construction, light commercial construction and remodeling projects. 1, 2, or 3 stars.
Bases ratings on proper site treatment, reduce/reuse/recycle, resource efficient protocols, energy efficiency, good air quality, proper hazardous waste management, and environmentally responsible operations and maintenance
Use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) when economically possibly in the construction of new governmental buildings
Offer a consulting company(s) to local businesses to help them find more sustainable construction/destruction/remodeling alternatives
Waste Wi $e Program
Waste Wi $e is an EPA program and has a more comprehensive list of ideas (Government Internal Waste Reduction). The program has entire governmental waste reduction policies and then has individual departments report on ways in which they can reduce in their own ways
Avoid Printing E-mails
When necessary to retain an e-mail, save it rather than print
Routinely make double-sided photocopies
Routinely print double-sided
Request reports produced by outside entities be printed on recycled paper and be double-sided
Request that correspondence with outside entities be done by e-mail whenever possible and on double-sided, recycled printing when e-mail is not possible
Reduce business Junk mail by contacting such businesses and ask to be taken off their mailing lists
Evaluate, condense, and revise forms to use less paper
Use E-contract system (not sure what it is at this time)
Buy recycled paper when economically feasible
Pages which have only been used on one-side will be reused whenever possible in printing/copying
Schedule Waste Reduction Training
Promote/expand in-house recycling
Hold Integrated Pest Management workshops for Maintenance and Parks and Recreation employees
Evaluate biodiesel use
Reusable dishware in break rooms/cafeterias
Use remanufactured toner cartridges
Switch screen savers or default to ‘power savings mode' on all energy star equipment
Buy window coverings or tint to conserve energy
Make concerted effort to achieve more office involvement
Turn off lights when not in use
NYC (not a part of waste wise, but similar ideas)
Printers/Copiers will be set standard to double-sided when possible or information on how to print/copy double-sided will be posted next to work stations and copiers
When e-mailing is not a viable communication option, fliers will be put in common areas as opposed to being distributed to each individual. Common practice will be taught to check common areas for updates
The use of cover and confirmation pages for faxes is discouraged
A faxed document should not also be sent to the fax recipient in hard copy form except upon request from the recipient
The use of computer fax programs that enable the user to fax documents from the computer without the need to print a hard copy is encouraged
Agencies should avoid using envelopes for bulk mailings by affixing mailing labels directly to folded correspondence whenever feasible
Agencies that send bulk mailings requiring routine responses, such as billings and license renewals, shall use reusable two-way envelopes whenever economically feasible
Agencies shall periodically review active mailing lists to remove duplicate, unwanted, or incorrect names and addresses
In addition to asking outside entities to send information double-sided (kitsap), NYC expands on this and also asks for single-spacing.
Limit the use of photographs (digital –kept on the internet is better…parentheses are my addition)
Print in as few colors as possible
Ask vendors supplying goods to eliminate or reduce packaging
Require suppliers to provide reusable packaging and pick it up again when a new shipment is brought in
Work with vendors to prevent waste on their end
Buy cleaning products in concentrated form to reduce necessary packaging
Agencies with lawns will, to whatever extent possible, leave grass clippings to degrade on the lawn
Agencies will also compost their own lawn debris whenever possible
Use rags for cleaning
Install electric hand dryers or cloth roll towels rather than paper towels
Buy common items in bulk to reduce packaging
Offer condiments in bulk in order reduce packaging
Buy recycled whenever possible, toner cartridges, computer disks, furniture etc.
Lease rather than purchase goods. Allow for upgrades in the product and repairs…company is invested in its products own durability because they have to fix it at their expense when it breaks. Often available for electronic goods and carpets.
Donate old-computer equipment when it can't be repurchased by companies or refurbished to schools and other organizations
An internet program where governmental departments post supplies which they need and supplies they have in surplus. Departments can then exchange amongst themselves, at no cost, various items. This helps stops over purchasing and reduces waste.
Kitsap County recently created a ‘2 Good 2 Toss' program, which offers a similar internet based program to the entire county not just the government departments
Moderate Risk Waste (MRW)
Swap Shop – A place where citizens can reuse certain products that come into the MRW facility (ex. Fertilizers, paint and paint related material, non-corrosive cleaners, automotive products, aerosol paints)
Creation of new Database to track MRW waste drums easier as well as decrease the amount of time spent on analysis
Used motor oil collection program
Used antifreeze collection program
Battery collection program
White goods collection program (appliances)
Mercury fever thermometer exchange program – give digital thermometers away to those who bring in fever thermometers
Business Hazardous waste collection program – generally small quantity generators could be assisted by government to comply with state and federal regulations by implementing programs to manage or reduce the toxicity of their waste.
A significant portion of both the NYC and Kitsap programs focused on the purchasing power of their governments in promoting environmentally sustainable actions. They can often save money.
Environmental Purchasing, as opposed to ‘buying recycled' involves making purchases which take into consideration raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, and/or disposal of the product or service (popular definition). Concerned more with the life-cycle of the product.
Common aspects looked for in Environmental Purchasing Policies (EPP) include but are not limited to the following:
Energy efficiency Water Conservation
Toxic use reduction Conservation of natural resources
Waste Minimization Biobased
Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free Compostable
Less Hazardous Locally Manufactured
Low volatile organic compound (VOC) content Mercury-free
Persistent bioaccumulative toxin (PBT)- free (Rapidly) renewable materials
Recyclable Recyclable Content
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions Reduced packaging
Refurbished Resource efficiency
Notice recyclable is only one of many options to consider…list could also be expanded beyond environmental into sustainable purchasing…fair trade etc…but that's a whole other can of worms
Common ways of balancing environmental concerns with the reality of performance, availability and expenses
Refusing to pay extra (going with environmental alternative when it does not cost anything more than its less-sustainable alternative)
Providing limited price flexibility (more fuzzy policy wording in general…buy environmental when it proves satisfactory and is available at a reasonable price) note: who defines satisfactory and reasonable?
Establishing Price Preference (similar to refusing to pay extra however environmental purchases are given, in general, a 3%-15% price premium in order to make them more competitive with their less sustainable counterparts). Some question whether this just helps to sustain high prices on ‘environmental products'
Requiring lifecycle cost evaluations (generally used when reasonable, takes into account aspects beyond original price. Paying more for a more durable product, taking into consideration lifetime maintenance costs covered, operation costs, replacement costs, final disposal all make paying more sometimes justified)
Adopting Best Value Purchasing Principles (ex. Oregon has a nicely worded statute “Competition exists not only in prices, but in the technical competence of suppliers, in their ability to make timely deliveries and in the quality and performance of their products and services and that a balance must exist” Purchasers include environmental performance as one of the important indicators of a product or service's overall desirability)
Other Policies to help Environmental Purchasing
Encourage departments to change/amend wording in current/past specifications to provide for consideration of environmental characteristics
Empower a green purchasing team (often volunteer committee, with members from various departments, that help implement purchasing policies in each individual department) covers bases that general purchasing department might miss
Identify Initial Priorities (areas that can be affected the soonest or are not necessarily easy to affect but important to take into consideration) Environmental purchasing can be so ominous and pervasive in all aspects of purchasing in can be hard to figure out where to start
Establish a list of approved/preferred products for various departments to consult (once again it can be hard to know where to start when looking for places/companies to purchase environmental products from)
Along the same lines look into existing environmental labeling and certification programs
Assign Responsibilities and establish deadlines
Create a communications plan to promote green purchasing throughout all departments (answer concerned employees/citizens questions about why environmental purchasing is being established as a policy)
Require contractors to buy green
Develop measurable goals and reporting requirements
Review policy regularly