Commission plans to create sustainable Eau Claire

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As the three R's go, reuse, reduce and recycle. The Advisory Commission on Sustainability for the City of Eau Claire has come out with its first annual work plan that applies that saying in different ways.

The commission has six different projects for July 2014- June 2015:

-Provide sustainable bag reduction/reuse/recycling educational campaign recommendations to City Council

-Consider a pollinator/honeybee-keeping city ordinance to protect food supply

-Encourage water efficiency and conservation programs

-Consider a construction and demolition waste ordinance to reuse salvaged materials

-Increase awareness/support for community/affordable solar. Continue to leverage funding partnership City ahs with EPA, NREL and DNR concerning Sky Park Landfill solar feasibility

-Promote/require green development techniques or rating system in building constructing. Possibly start with City-owned buildings

Associate city planner Ned Noel said the group is comprised of nine members.

"There were probably about 100 different ideas that they evaluated and considered six to begin their work," said Noel.

Noel said the sustainable bag work was done by a committee prior to the commission being formed.

"The commission has to come up with an education plan for the next six months, in terms of what they would like to see in the community to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic bags," said Noel.

The construction demolition waste ordinance is an idea that came out in 2009.

"The city has done some work on that and then the commission decided to pick that work back up after the city staff did research and there's already a lot of that activity already going on," he said.

It's an initiative that's already seen at Market & Johnson construction sites. The company is building the new JAMF software building in Phoenix Park.

"We've been working here since last September. It's coming along pretty well right now," said site supervisor Jon Granger with Market & Johnson.

Granger said recycling the materials leftover from a demolition or construction saves on costs and keeps materials out of landfills.

"What we try to salvage a lot of and recycle is basically everything starting from asphalt - if there's a parking lot down to the concrete, any concrete that's there, to the masonry items. Also a lot of that gets ground up and used for base course back on the site usually," said Granger.

He said wood dumpsters on site and eventually what's in the dumpster gets ground up. Steel would be recycled and taken to a metal recycling site.

Hope Gospel Mission's Building Hope is also a site for reusing material. Hope Gospel says it recycles millions of pounds of salvageable material every year with much of that material coming from schools and demolitions.

The recommendations will be considered at a city council meeting in early 2015.

Commission meetings are open to the public. The full body meets in City Hall at 1 p.m. on the second Friday of every other month.

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