A Zero Waste Plan is headed to Northfield city councilors for consideration with the stamp of approval from the city’s Environmental Quality Commission.
The Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) finished its discussion Wednesday on the city’s Zero Waste Plan, after reviewing a draft of the document last month. The plan aims to reduce waste going into landfills by 90% from 2020 levels by 2030. In addition, the plan aims to make sure that all organic waste, whether that be from residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and city government sources, is composted or processed for reuse by 2025, according to the plan.
“I appreciate the depth and the clarity that went into this document and hopefully much of it will get adopted in some fashion by the city and businesses and neighborhoods,” said EQC member Mika Turner.
Northfield’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), adopted in 2019, calls for the creation of a Zero Waste Plan within three years. The zero waste aspect of the plan is just one element to the CAP, which overall calls for Northfield to be a 100% carbon-free community by 2040.
The Zero Waste Plan is a recommendation and will guide Northfield in making legal, operational and cultural changes in order to reduce waste and its subsequent greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan prioritizes four key principles that include prioritizing preventing waste, reduction and reuse; education for culture change; equitable opportunity for the entire community; and monitoring and evaluation. Partnerships between Rice County, Carleton College and volunteer support will be needed to take action on some of the recommendations within the document.
The plan highlights a number of potential waste reduction sources and actions to take to combat the issue. Strategies include hosting educational and awareness campaigns, preventing food waste, encouraging residential recycling and supporting schools efforts to reduce waste.
EQC member Evan Pak said he appreciates the direction the plan is leading the city in, acknowledging that the plan acts as a set of recommendations rather than policies, allowing for flexibility.
“It’s intended to be a guide and a phased thing,” said Beth Kallestad, the program coordinator liaison for the EQC. She hopes to get Rice County more on board with the plan, as the county is Northfield’s solid waste management entity.
The EQC approved a resolution to send the plan to the Northfield City Council, which will likely take it up in August or September.