At the 2016 Summit for Recycling in Grand Junction, Taryn Finnessey, climate change risk management specialist at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, led a public engagement session on the Colorado Climate Plan. Based on the results of that session and through the work of CAFR’s Policy Committee, CAFR recently submitted a prioritized list of strategies to the department for incorporating recycling into the implementation of the plan.
- Emphasize sustainable materials management (recycling, composting, reuse, product stewardship, green purchasing) as a key tool to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gases at the state level.
- Coordinate with CDPHE to implement the Integrated Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan currently under development and connect the plan to the state Climate Plan.
- Dedicate staff at the state level to work on initiating and enhancing recycling, waste reduction and waste diversion in all state-owned and state-operated buildings and agencies (in support of #4 below), developing markets for sustainable materials management, implementing a state materials management plan and providing technical assistance to local communities.
- Lead by example in state government by strengthening and enforcing the Green Purchasing Order, by recycling and composting in all state agency facilities and by expanding state agency efforts to reduce food waste. Ensure these activities are acknowledged and supported by the state’s Greening Government Leadership Council. Share these efforts with local government partners.
- Seek avenues for state funding that support innovation in the waste sector, provide expanded waste diversion infrastructure to both rural and urban communities and provide incentives for markets for recycled material (e.g., tax breaks for citing a facility to make corrugated cardboard into new paper). Ensure waste recovery programs are eligible for funding sources focused on greenhouse gas reduction.
- Implement policies that reduce organics (yard and food waste) in the landfill (a source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas). Prioritize policies that keep organic materials out of the landfill over mitigation programs such as landfill gas recovery systems.
- Include consumption emissions (the total emissions for a product, including its production and consumption) in future greenhouse gas inventories. Consumption emissions are reduced when products are recycled or re-used. Without the inclusion of consumption emissions in inventories, the full benefits of recycling and re-use are not included.
- Invest in materials management education and infrastructure in schools.
- Support market development of compost use, including CDOT purchasing.
- Quantify and include the greenhouse gas savings from waste reduction, recycling and composting in any plan updates or annual reports to highlight work already in progress.
For more information about CAFR’s work with the Colorado Climate Plan, contact Jessie Burley, Policy Committee chairperson, at at 970-668-5703 or firstname.lastname@example.org.