A Greener Boulder City
by Tricia Sullivan
Earth day is just around the corner on April 21st. With this day in mind, each year, millions of American’s thoughts shift to ways to reduce the strain the human race puts on our planet Earth. To thoroughly embrace the role mankind plays in protecting the planet earth, a commitment to sustainability is required.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship and the responsible management of resource use. Achieving sustainability will enable the earth to continue supporting human life as we know it.
How can a city become a sustainably responsible community?
According to the American Planning Association, “Sustainability is the capability to equitably meet the vital human needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This can be accomplished by preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystems and natural resources.” The concept of sustainability describes a condition in which human use of natural resources, required for the continuation of life, is in balance with nature’s ability to replenish them. However, humans are depleting and degrading many resources faster than Earth’s natural systems can replenish them, and human consumption continues to grow every year.
Planning for sustainability promotes responsible development. It requires a democratic process of planning to achieve the greatest common good for all sections of our population, protect the health of the environment and assure the survival of future generations.
Throughout the city of Boulder City’s Master Plan are principals of sustainability. Looking to the future, one step the city is pursing in this effort is to review options for the Boulder City Landfill. The City seeks to act in the most efficient and effective manner to manage this city’s assets with sustainability in mind.
The community plays a vital role in treating the Boulder City landfill in a sustainably responsible manner. By producing less waste and responsibly managing waste produced, Boulder City residents and businesses directly impact the lifespan of the landfill.
There are many ways to produce less waste:
Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash you throw away and reuse containers and products.
Recycle as much as possible and buy products with recycled content.
Practice composting by using microorganisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) to decompose organic waste, such as food scraps and yard trimmings.
The benefits of recycling are numerous. Recycling and reusing materials saves energy, conserves natural resources, prevents pollution and reduces the volume of discards that are thrown into our landfills, all of which have long-term benefits for our society. Simply put, proper recycling of materials keeps people healthier, is good for the economy and supports a healthy planet.
Boulder City Disposal offers a buyback program where residents can process approved recyclable material items from 7am-3pm on Saturdays. You can also turn your trash into usable funds.
The Boulder City Landfill is managed by Boulder City Disposal. Boulder City Disposal, currently offers a single-stream recycling program that residents and commercial properties can participate in, and seeks to enhance this program. Single-stream recycling uses just one collection bin for all your recyclable items increasing the ease and convenience of recycling so that more people participate and more resources are saved. Single-stream recycling is making recycling easier for you at home, at work, and on the go.
Two years ago, the SUPERVALU Corporation pledged to become a Zero Waste company. With the commitment of the Boulder City Albertson’s management team, they have reduced their 30-40 cubic yards per week of trash down to 10 cubic yards or less per week. Edible food is given to Emergency Aid and other nonprofit organizations. Organic waste is managed in rolling trash cans and picked up three times per week, taken to Overton and turned into compost product. From there the compost products it bagged and sold at Albertson’s at a future date. The Boulder City Albertson’s now qualifies as a Zero Waste company. Recognizing that not every household has the ability to compost, Boulder City Albertson’s will gladly accept your biodegradable compostable waste to turn into usable product. As Bill Sheehan of the Grass Roots Recycling Network and avid promoter of Zero Waste says, “Zero Waste is a design principle. If we plan for eliminating waste, whether we reach 100% elimination is not the point. The point is to start planning for the elimination of waste rather than managing waste.”
Before committing usable items to waste, you can donate them to local thrift stores such as Experiences Merchandise located at 525 Nevada Way. The store gladly accepts usable items. The funds generated support the Christian Center Church which in turn supports the community in a variety of charitable ways. Non-profits are getting into the act of recycling too. Organizations such as Freecycle© and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore provide people with an opportunity to donate gently used items to a good cause and allow someone else to get more use out of them.
The Nevada legislature adopted a recycling goal of a 25% recycling rate for all of Clark County. According to Boulder City Disposal, Boulder City residents recycle between 15-20 percent at the curb.
If you asked a responsible government official in the 20th century how waste should be handled, he or she would probably have said, “To get rid of the waste in ways which minimize threats to human health and the environment.” Today, the demands of the new century (let alone the new millennium) require that we find ways to manage our discarded materials in such a way as not to deprive future generations of an equitable share in those resources. Such a requirement is the linch-pin of the concept of ‘sustainability.’
For a better “Clean, Green Boulder City,” the community of Boulder City should commit to adopt practices that support sustainability making the conscience effort to preserve the Earth’s resources for future generations.
The key component to the success of shifting the community’s actions to one that fully embraces sustainability is educating the public. With this article, Boulder City Magazine encourages its readership to learn everything you can about sustainability and to put into action efforts to lead Boulder City to a highly focused sustainable community.