Waste Matters             December 2017
City of Athens Pledges Zero Waste

Rural Action has now expanded its Zero Waste Pledge work to the City of Athens. Four buildings--City Hall, Code Enforcement, the Community Center, and Arts West--have now taken the Zero Waste Pledge and pledged to increase recycling and divert more waste from the landfill.

To meet their Zero Waste Pledge goals, the City will be standardizing their recycling bins and instructive signs throughout all four buildings. This will allow all city workers and visitors to be familiar with recycling procedures regardless of which city building they enter. Likewise, the city will be training all employees on recycling practices. Each building is only as sustainable as those who inhabit it, so the city has also pledged to create a city-wide zero waste policy outlining the expectations for event organizers using city spaces. Both the Community Center and Arts West host many events that may not involve trained city employees, so this pledge point allows the buildings to continue operating according to the standards of zero waste. 

Each pledge point focuses on creating solutions that anyone can implement at work and in their daily lives to reduce their carbon footprints. As these first four buildings begin to make the changes, both Rural Action and the City of Athens hope to expand the scope of this project and include more city buildings in pledging zero waste!

If your business is interested in taking the pledge, please contact mary@ruralaction.org.

Congratulations to AHRC, Bruce Underwood, and Doug Crites!

Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers, Inc. (AHRC) has been making huge strides in improving the recycling capacity of Southeast Ohio in the past few years, and recently leader Bruce Underwood has been recognized for his role in their success.  Underwood, a lifelong Hocking County resident and Ohio University alum, began work with AHRC as a recycling attendant in 2014, but rose to executive director in only eight short months.
According to the Wayne National Forest, who nominated them for the award, "[AHRC] has processed over 60%, or nearly 2000 tons more material in 2017 than they did in 2013. In 2016, they constructed a new materials recovery facility (MRF) that now accepts single stream recycling at a level far beyond what the existing facility managed. The organization has also expanded its service area to rural areas and implemented a new collection system for more than 20 public recycling drop-off locations across Athens and Hocking Counties".  
Recognizing this, Underwood was awarded the 2017 Best Young Professional by the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).  Shortly thereafter, Keep Ohio Beautiful acknowledged their success by awarding the Industry/Business Award to AHRC for their leadership in recycling as well.
"The move to single stream recycling has really been a game changer for recycling in southeast Ohio," said Bruce Underwood, "I want to thank all of our customers for their support in realizing the potential in capturing and diverting materials from the landfill."
Keep Ohio Beautiful also honored Detective Doug Crites with the Law Enforcement Recognition Award, for his outstanding efforts as Environmental Detective with the Athens County Sheriff's Office.

Doug and the Athens Hocking Recycling Center are partners of Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful, for more info about joining the affiliate please email gchancey@fs.fed.us

Zero Waste Champion: Organizing Her Way to Zero Waste
Real World Organizing (RWO) is a local business dedicated to providing professional organizing services, including household organizing, consulting, and coaching. A large aspect of organization involves getting rid of unnecessary items, so it's easy for clients of RWO to generate a large volume of waste. However, inherent in owner Aubrei Krummert's commitment to minimalism is a dedication to zero waste, and she has now renewed her Zero Waste Pledge for the second year in a row. 

Aubrei's initial pledge addressed aspects of RWO that could be improved to become more sustainable, such as implementing fabric and ink cartridge recycling.  But upon incorporating each of those changes spectacularly, this year's pledge focused more on how she can influence and engage her community. This primarily includes her efforts through Terracycle--a program that allows anyone to send in a myriad of otherwise non-recyclable waste to be recycled at their facility. For Aubrei, the focus has been on the pervasive single use chip bag and granola bar wrapper, which she now collects in bulk to be terracycled from local schools, as well as her clients. Terracycling takes a bit more effort than your regular weekly curbside ritual, but it has greatly expanded the waste that her clients and community can divert.

"A lot of people collect things they know can be recycled, they just don't know how to. I believe most people genuinely want to do the right thing, but we can't do everything ourselves". Whether it's a lamp that gets sold on eBay, or old fabric taken to Goodwill, RWO will sort down to the staples and paperclips and work with you to make sure everything ends up in the right place to achieve maximum waste reduction and recycling.
To have your organization or business take the Zero Waste Pledge, email mary@ruralaction.org . Check out all the other organizations  you would be joining!

New AmeriCorps Members and Community Solutions Fellow!

Laura Diaco,
our Zero Waste Education & Outreach Coordinator, is excited to continue her AmeriCorps position for a second year!  She plans to continue engaging students in zero waste education at our local schools, while broadening Zero Waste's reach this year with the addition of a Master Recycler program.  Laura grew up in the Athens community and graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. in political science and economics, and an M.A. in applied linguistics.
"I'm proud to get to serve in the place I grew up, while helping our communities get to zero waste"   

Mary Jeter
a recent Salsbury University grad joined us this past August as our new Zero Waste Pledge AmeriCorps Member.  With a background in psychology, art, and environmental studies, Mary will be working with businesses and non-profits to help them better understand their waste stream and reduce their environmental impact in the process.

"I'm excited to build partnerships with communities in my new home"

Dylan Bueche
formerly the Zero Waste Communications Intern, is now the Event Coordination and Dumpsite Cleanup AmeriCorps member.  Unsure if his passion stems from a passionate love for trash or a deep hatred of it, this position allows ample opportunity to spend time waist deep in it.  Dylan is most excited for achieving Zero Waste at Nelsonville Music Festival!

"Southeast Ohio is a beautiful place; I'm happy to get dirty to keep Athens clean and sustainable!"

Antoine Kabandana (Tony),
the Community Solutions Fellow came from Rwanda in August to explore value chain and organics processing in Southeastern Ohio.  Connecting with local farmers to research soil amendment use in the area, Tony was an invaluable asset to Rural Action and an integral part of the Zero Waste Team.

"Rural Action has been a second family for me away from my home. I treasure the commitment and good work you are doing for your communities"

To learn more about the Community Solutions Fellowship Program click here.
AmeriCorps members commit to 12 months of service with Rural Action.  For more information about applying click here.

In Case You Missed It

It's been a while since we've sent an e-newsletter.  So, in case you missed them, here are a few news articles about some of the really amazing work our partners have been up to with a little support from us.

How Green Is Athens?
Sustainable Business Social
The sustainable business social was a networking opportunity for local businesses to share ideas with one another on how to be more sustainable.  Held at the Eclipse Company Store, this gathering featured speakers and presentations from many sustainable Athens businesses.

Zero Waste Pledge Program Signs On New Members

We are pleased to announce twelve local organizations that have taken the Zero Waste Pledge and are committed to reducing waste for a healthy environment, a healthy economy, and healthy lives.  If your business is interested in taking the pledge, please contact Mary Jeter at mary@ruralaction.org  or call at  (740) 677-4047 .  To see what these businesses and organizations have pledged, visit our website .

Rural Action Zero Waste Program Staff
Kuhre Center for Rural Renewal
9030 Hocking Hills Drive
The Plains, OH 45780
Erin Sykes  / Program Director
Andrea Reany / Program Manager
Laura Diaco / AmeriCorps
Dylan Bueche / AmeriCorps
Mary Jeter / AmeriCorps
Tyler Bonner / Sales and Outreach Coordinator, ZW Event Productions

Events and Recycling Opportunities

December 9
Partner Event
Dumpsite Cleanup with Wayne National Forest
Nelsonville, OH

December 11
Rural Action Event
Rural Action Holiday Open House @ Kuhre Center
the Plains, OH

April 21
Partner Event
Scrap Tire Day @ Wayne National Forest HQ
Nelsonville, OH

See More Events Here
Zero Waste Program Sponsors

Rural Action is an equal opportunity provider and employer.  Some of this material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service.

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