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July 20, 2014

DC Council Takes a Step Towards Zero Waste!

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:42:19 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Thanks Council! No Background

Cheh Team on Dais Pic 2

DC Environmental Network:

District citizens, wildlife and environmental advocates had a good day last Monday, July 14th, when the DC Council successfully passed, and sent to Mayor Gray for signature, both the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013” and the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014”. These important bills both had provisions to help the District move towards being a zero waste city.

Highlights of the two bills:

DSC_0106b2vMajor Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable DC Omnibus Act of 2013”:

  • Called for a ban of the use of Styrofoam for food service businesses by January 1, 2016.
  • Requires food service businesses to only use compostable or recyclable food service ware by January 1, 2017

Major Zero Waste Provisions of the “Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014” (partial):

  • Requires the Executive to develop a zero waste plan that lays out the programs necessary to achieve Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC goal of 80% waste diversion and clears the way for a Pay as You Throw (PAYT) system that can help increase the District’s waste diversion rate.
  • Prioritizes reuse and recycling over landfilling and incineration.
  • Requires separation of waste into recyclables, compostables and trash.

What made this first step in the legislative process even more meaningful is that the District of Columbia Council, much like Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, did not back down when high paid corporate lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council, DART Container Corporation and other large corporate interests, lobbied aggressively against these provisions.

2014-07-19_18-02-47The Anacostia Riverkeeper, Anacostia Watershed Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, DC Environmental Network, DC Statehood Green Party, Earthjustice, Energy Justice Network, Foundation Earth, Global Bees, Global Green USA, Green Cross International, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Potomac Riverkeeper, SCI/Community Forklift, Sierra Club DC Chapter and many more all played a variety of roles during this legislative process and will continue to advocate for Mayor Gray to sign both bills and continue to engage and advocate during the implementation stages of these two zero waste bills.

This continues to be a priority campaign for the DC Environmental Network and we will be pushing to make sure the District moves forward towards achieving our 80% waste diversion goal.

Chris Weiss
Executive Director
DC Environmental Network

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