Across the country, EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program is implementing a Zero Waste Pilot Partnership Program for local governments. New Paltz, a diverse community that includes a more densely settled center with single and multiple dwellings, vibrant retailing and a major state university campus, farmland agriculture and rural single family homes, has been selected as one of thirteen communities chosen nationally to be part of this pilot project. The experiences from this local partnership along with those of the communities representing the other twelve EPA regions: Abington, PA; Arkadelpia, AR; Atlanta, GA; Cupertino, CA; Chester Co., PA; Eugene, OR; Fort Collins, CO; Griffin, GA; Kansas City, MO, Mahoning Co., OH; Middleton, CT; and Reno, NV, will be used to help develop the EPAâ€™s national SMM programming in the future.
The New Paltz Recycling Center, shared by the Town and Village of New Paltz, will receive technical assistance from the EPA as part of this initiative; this pilot opportunity will provide additional tools and program enhancements to establish a set of standards for other municipalities to follow. The Recycling Center has already been shifting toward a SMM approach to reduce disposal expenses and advocate for reuse, sustainability, and green initiatives. Technical assistance will help advance zero waste principles and associated strategies, by identifying ways to reduce material use upstream and better design existing source reduction, reuse and recycling programs to eliminate waste.
The March 29th forum will include information about the pilot partnership and NYS’s Beyond Waste plan. It will provide opportunities for networking and brainstorming among regional participants to identify implementation ideas for the initiative. There will be remarks from stakeholders including Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, representatives of the Town and Village of New Paltz, the newly appointed director of the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce Michael Smith, SUNY New Paltz undergraduate Recycling Coordinator Kelly Drummond, and a keynote address on the Beyond Waste plan by David Vitale, Director of the NYS DECâ€™s Bureau of Permitting and Planning. But the focus and the greater part of the of the evening will be devoted to interactive workshops designed to generate ideas to inform the creation of a Zero Waste Action Plan for New Paltz.
â€œWhen Ulster County and the region first considered recycling, our goals were modest. We far exceeded them showing what an engaged and committed community can achieve if it is highly motivated and well led. Now it is time to set our goals even higher. We are delighted to be a part of this landmark effort,â€ said CRREO Director and Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement, Gerald Benjamin at SUNY New Paltz.
“Sustainable resource management, recycling and composting are all very effective waste management strategies that not only help protect the environment, but also save tax dollars and create jobs. EPA is thrilled to be working closely with the people of New Paltz to develop model programs that can serve as examples for communities across the country. New Paltz has long been a leader in the Hudson Valley on environmental sustainability and now with this initiative, that tradition reaches a new level,” said Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator of the EPA.
Other endorsing organizations include: SUNY New Paltz Student Recycling Club and Sustainable Agriculture Club; New Paltz Climate Action Coalition; New Paltz Transition; Catskill Mountainkeeper; Clearwater; Mohonk Preserve; Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance; Sustainable Hudson Valley; Scenic Hudson.
Light, locally sourced refreshments will be served. Registration is free and will begin at 6:00 p.m.; to preregister, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9V9FNNC. Call (845) 255-8456 or email Recycling@TownofNewPaltz.org for more information.
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