Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – December 2015

Sustainable Communities Network of Fox Valley

Minutes, December 3, 2015, Outagamie County written by Jim Resick

Solid Waste Department Office

Present: Aimee Niendorf, Carol Kasimor, Jeanine Knapp, Catherine Neiswender, Chris Miller, Roger Kanitz, Paul Farrell, Jim Resick and Leah Powley.

Following tour of MRF, Chris gave report on plastic film and bag recycling project. Cloth sleeve recycling bag is a great communication/teaching tool. Generally for plastic, if it’s stretchable, it’s recyclable. Display board with actual accepted products is available for learning events. Initiative for film and bag recycling nationally began in Wisconsin, for a variety of reasons including the recycling readiness of citizens. Jeanine and Aimee agreed to work together on collaborative plastic film/bag baling at UWO. Trex Company is primary firm receiving film/bag, and will work with community ad hoc projects. See for nearest location of drop-off’s.

An estimated 90% of region’s households have access to drop-off sites where they shop. A study is on-going with recycled materials from one Appleton neighborhood – majority of film/bag material is currently “bags of bags,” which suggests need for education on proper recycling.

Aimee reported on food waste diversion. UWO is suggesting either a composting site or community collection site, as two alternative location types for biodigestate dropoff. Legislation in Wisconsin promotes gas and coal at expense of RE, as far as electric rates are concerned. Biogas conference looked at forming an advocacy process. Chris and Paul reported that Outagamie County contingent was totally impressed with UW-O dry fermentation project. Brian Langolf indicated willingness to help us research food waste shed to determine feasibility of second biodigester in region. Chair of Outagamie County Sustainability Committee is to approach BOW Waste Diversion Technologies Committee about quantifying or characterizing the region’s food waste. Jim mentioned 2003 organic substrate study by UW-Madison Soils Department, on behalf of Appleton waste water treatment. State UW-Extension Energy Specialist Tim Baye is meeting with OC Sustainability Committee January 13, 2016, to discuss bioenergy development possibilities.

Discussion on process for gathering SCN member feedback.  Catherine collected these thoughts and agreed to incorporate them in a draft survey for review before sending out to membership.

Roger invited members to community conversation on sustainability at Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, February 20, 2016. He also reported that promotion of E-recycling was spotty, so he is requesting thoughts on how to better promote these events. Neenah e-cycling was up, and Roger reported Menasha’s was down.

Jeanine reported that Evergreen CU has goal of being most sustainable CU in nation, and is well on its way. She thanked SCN for opportunity to have Evergreen participate. Catherine reported that Sustainability Indicator project may be continued through a UW-Extension intern, starting this winter. Neenah received an honorable mention for “bike friendly” designation by League of American Bicyclists. It also was recognized by National Bike Challenge as small city with most bike-miles accrued by cyclists. Roger reported tree canopy group is extending its findings to City of Menasha. Jim distributed summary of Citizen Climate Lobby request to speak at SCN in future.

Next meeting set for Thursday, March 3rd, place TBD.

Meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

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