Environmental Stewardship Committee – February 2023 Report
The Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 10am Hideaway Bakery. The meeting was held on February 21st and 5 people were in attendance.
Several topics were discussed:
- Amazon Creek tree planting project
- The tree planting event was rescheduled to Saturday, March 11th (originally Saturday, February 25th) due to the weather being too cold to plant bareroot trees per the City of Eugene’s Parks & Open Space guidance.
- The results from the Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers (GPLB) survey
- Thirty-two people responded to the survey as of the meeting date. The survey results were shared with QuietClean Eugene.
- The results can also be viewed at the end of this report.
- EWEB’s water storage tanks at 40th and Patterson and future of College Hill Reservoir and Amazon Emergency Water Station
- Two ESC members recently got a tour of the tank construction progress. At that tour, it was noted that although the tank roofs were designed to support “green roofs”, EWEB’s Board had decided to not move forward with installation. The ESC is looking into why this decision was made.
- Information about the benefits of green roofs can be found here: https://www.gsa.gov/governmentwide-initiatives/federal-highperformance-green-buildings/resource-library/integrative-strategies/green-roofs)
- Additional questions for EWEB include (a) the future of the College Hill Reservoir and (b) whether the future Amazon emergency water station will be supplied by well or by the newly constructed tanks.
- Plastics Reduction, locally and state-wide
- The Eugene Sustainability Commission (of which Devon Mann is a member) attended a recent presentation regarding a mixed waste processing facility named the Integrated Material & Energy Recovery Facility (IMERF), located at Short Mountain Landfill in the Goshen area. It is a public/private partnership between Lane County and Bulk Handling Systems, who was awarded the contract. It will not take tax dollars to fund the project; rather, funding will come from an increase of site fees.
- IMERF uses Anaerobic Digestion (AD) to divert roughly 72% of Lane County mixed waste (garbage) from the landfill. AD & subsequent methane collection occurs prior to wood/food waste entering the landfill and will decrease CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons/year.
- Sorting occurs via AI-driven robotics on site, not at curb. Mixed waste (garbage) arrives at facility, bags opened and waste is sorted by size and density, and 2-dimensional from 3-dimensional. All organic material enters the AD process. After methane collection, the remaining material is dehydrated (Bio-Dried) and used for landfill cover as well as soil amendment. Collected methane is sold to NW Natural (and as fuel for NG vehicles).
- Can sort co-mingled waste (recycling) as well
- Food & wood debris are largest waste streams in Lane County, and 85% of greenhouse emissions in Lane County comes from landfills. Currently Short Hill has a waste recover rate in the low 50s%; IMERF would increase to greater than 63%.
- State Senate plastic reduction bills’ current status: There are 3 bills in committee at the state level regarding plastic reduction – SB 543,SB 544 and SB 545. Here are some details regarding each bill.
SENATE BILL 543:
Bill Title: “Relating to prohibitions for certain products.”
Bill Summary: “Prohibits food vendor from using polystyrene container in sales of prepared food.”
SENATE BILL 544:
Bill Title: “Relating to prohibiting certain consumer products.”
Bill Summary: “Directs Environmental Quality Commission to establish program for source reduction of single-use plastic food ware and single-use packaging and achieve 25 percent source reductions compared to 2023 levels by 2030.”
SENATE BILL 545:
Bill Title: “Relating to reuse of containers; declaring an emergency.”
Bill Summary: “Directs State Department of Agriculture and Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules allowing consumers to use own containers for refilling with food at food establishment.”