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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chattanooga Building a Green Brick Road

In perfect timing with Earth month, The City of Chattanooga is exploring how to bring zero waste practices to the residential and corporate community.  The main ingredients for success are in place: 1> solid local government support 2> corporate community enthusiasm and 3> strong local markets for recyclable material.

Chattanooga director of sustainability David Crockett is using his extensive long-term relationship network to create a stellar team committed to a sustainable approach to zero waste practices.  In April Ron Thomas joined the City's team as the deputy director of sustainable development and brings extensive urban sustainable development experience.  Under Ron's tenure as executive director, the Northern Illinois Planning Commission received over 25 impressive awards.

At David's direction, sound economics and social responsibility take the front seat in program development with environmental impact an important side benefit.

David Crockett & Neil Seldman
Answering David's beck and call to take the first steps down the zero waste path, Institute for Local Self Reliance president Neil Seldman orchestrated a one-day Zero Waste Workshop in Chattanooga on Tuesday, April 10.  While Neil pulled together the speaker line-up, Ongeleigh Gipson - Chattanooga zero waste coordinator - was a pro at the local logistics and securing a powerful, enthusiastic audience.

Mayor Littlefield
After a warm welcome by Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and an introduction by David, Neil gave an excellent two-hour presentation on zero waste programs in other cities, current technology available to assist in diverting material from landfills and the importance of local markets for recyclable material. During lunch Kendall Christiansen of Gaia Strategies out of New York spoke on food scrap uses, mainly from the residential perspective.

Following lunch, Elemental Impact founder | Zero Waste Zones director Holly Elmore presented on the the Zero Waste Zones Atlanta success, the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Atlanta Airport Pilot, Charlotte initiatives and the WHY's and HOW's to bring zero waste practices to a community. Enthusiasm was strong with many questions followed by lively dialogue. Visit the Ei Meetings & Events page to download Holly's PPT presentation.

The Zero Waste Workshop Team
The day-long program ended with Bioponica's co-founder David Epstein opening the doorway to innovative local food production using composted organics to grow nutrients in small scale, community based greenhouses.

The Ei FB album, 04-10-12 Chattanooga Zero Waste Workshop, gives the pictorial recap of the successful event.

With long-term relationships rekindled and new friends made, the Chattanooga zero waste fire is ignited with a strong foundation in place.  Ei | ZWZ looks forward to working with our neighbor city on building a sustainable green brick road where the community, businesses and the environment thrive in harmony.

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