EcNow Tech was honored to be a part of the sustainability town hall on March 10, 2010. All the food service products were donated by EcNow Tech and commposted ensuring that the event was a zero waste event. By coincidence I ran into a reporter as I placed my bicycle in a bike rack at the event. The transcript appears below and can be viewed at.
Town Hall Encourages Recycling, Composting
By Laura McCandlish
The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition gathered hundreds of residents Thursday for a town hall meeting. They were encouraged to travel by green means to the “zero waste” event.
Chris Vitello: “I rode my bike through the pouring rain, about 2.5 miles, and I was amazed when I pulled up, there was no place to park because there were so many bikes here.”
I met Chris Vitello of the coalition’s waste reduction team by the bike racks.
Though many biked and walked to the meeting, more drove. Few took the bus. Greeters collected transportation stats at the door.
Door greeter: “Hi, are you just arriving? We’d like to find out how you got here. Did you bicycle, walk?
Attendee 1: “Oh, I drove tonight.”
Greeter: “By yourself? Ok so one in a car… Ok, so you also used your car?”
Greeter: “Specifically for the purposes of getting here?”
Attendee2: “And I did 3 other errands at the same time. But I’m coming from Albany.”
Greeter: “Ok, so a car trip was involved?”
Attendee2: “yeah, just by myself. Worst. Sorry.”
Laura McCandlish: “How do the results look?”
Vernon Huffman: “Well, it’s kind of disturbing just how many people are getting here alone in their car.”
McCandlish: “Do you think the weather has anything to do with it?”
Huffman: “I’m sure it does. I think even more our addiction to motor vehicles. A lot of people really think they need a car.”
That’s Vernon Huffman, a bicycling advocate and one of the greeters.
Inside the forum, held in a ballroom at Oregon State University, I met up with Chris Vitello again. His team pushed for food scrap recycling. Corvallis was the first city in Oregon to offer the curbside service.
Vitello: “The sustainability coalition was instrumental. When the contracts were coming up, they made sure the city included that as part of the requirements. So it’s a huge improvement, converting all that waste that is now golden compost.”
Residents huddled around dozens of tables to discuss their sustainability goals. Vitello was a discussion leader. His green home business is one of the coalition’s over 160 member organizations.
Vitello: “We should include the word composting in here. So the goal is to recycle and compost up to at least 75 percent by 2020. It’s currently 50, so 75 percent might be a low bar.”
Last year, the coalition urged residents and businesses to sign up for free energy audits. They’re asking for input on a new challenge for this year. A car-free day, a campaign to support restaurants serving local foods or low-carbon dieting are options on the table.
All this through the work of volunteers. Corvallis Mayor Charlie Tomlinson commended their efforts in a closing address.
Tomlinson: “We can do it from the top down and develop public policy to try to encourage people to do things. But I have come to believe that the energy and enthusiasm that you have for this effort is much more important than the public policy we can put in place.”