Park City Leadership Class 24 is coming to a close and members are urging local officials to make food waste more of a priority. Melissa Allison has more:
Giving the Park City Council a presentation isn’t part of the leadership program’s curriculum, but it’s happening more often.
Class 24 member Sheri Fisher said it only made sense to give council a presentation.
“We wanted to overview what we did throughout the year," Fisher said. "And then talk to them a little bit about our project and what we did during the project, what our outcomes were. And then also, what we would like to see for the future. So, there were probably three parts of our presentation. It was to thank them, an overview of the project, talk about our specific project and then talk about that future.”
Learning that 42,000 tons of waste was added to Summit County’s landfill in 2017 was a bit unsettling for Class 24 and member David Greenholtz said they needed to ask some questions about Park City.
“You know, is the community willing to compost? Can we get the restaurants on board to make these changes?" Greenholtz said. "And it’s really important you know, the landfills are filling up creating methane gas from the organic waste in there, so it’s really, really, a lot of people just don’t know about that. So, I think our project was to validate the education component of it, share with them and move forward to help the county make changes and put in a program for 2019.”
Fisher said a fieldtrip to the landfill was enlightening for everyone.
“There are so many things that, just within the view that we had - there was cardboard, there was plastic - so many things that could easily be recycled," Fisher said. "And speaking to the manager of the landfill, he told us that even like, cardboard is one of the worst violators in the landfill because its so easy to get that recycled, but its in there and it is creating that methane gas that we talked about.”
As part of their project, the class worked with Savor the Summit, when thousands of pounds of food waste was diverted from the event that served 2,500 people.
The class also staffed a booth at the Park Silly Sunday Market and held a public screening of the documentary, “Wasted.”
Restaurants aren’t the only culprit when it comes to organic waste. Both Fisher and Greenholtz agree that grocery stores and community members add to the list.
While the class didn’t ask city council for any financial backing, they did tell them about some processes available and are already being used.
Greenholtz said there is more than one answer to the issue.
“Our goal on the upfront was to educate on the options available right now and composting and breaking down is really the simplest format," Greenholtz said. "But, moving forward, there’s uhm, like that machine is called, The Digester, so there’s one down in Salt Lake City. The best thing about it is it creates the ability to separate all the material and take proteins in as well. So, the separation is really the key that people have a problem with. But what we wanted to do was open up to, ‘What’s happening over the next, three, five to 10 years in technologies?’ because this could be something that is great over the next two years but, what’s the next step to that?”
As a result of Class 24’s mission, there are now some residential and business compost pick-up programs.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.