A Green Team of local residents continues to develop a zero-waste plan for the city of Bexley to achieve a 90 percent reduction of materials deposited in landfills by 2040.

Team members discussed the recommendations they have come up since starting work in December during a June 28 meeting at Bexley City Hall.

The team plans to submit a draft of the zero-waste plan to council before the end of the year, said Michael Greenberg, president of GT Environmental Inc., a Westerville-based firm that has been overseeing the draft process.

"It will take a significant effort for all these things (in the plan) to happen," he said.

Bexley would become the first city in Franklin County to implement such a plan if City Council formally votes to adopt it, Greenberg said.

Council members and Mayor Ben Kessler first discussed the possibility of drafting a zero-waste plan in the spring of 2016. In December, the Green Team formed with about 15 local residents and a representative from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Greenberg said.

The Green Team is recommending the city work in three phases to implement the plan, with the first phase running from 2018 to 2024, the second phase from 2025 to 2030, and the final phase from 2031 to 2040.

The team has identified five priorities for the first phase: education and outreach; developing programs to encourage less waste and more recycling in the residential sector; developing programs for the commercial sector; developing programs for the institutional sector; and developing programs for the city administration.

"What was important to the Green Team was education, because we won't be successful if we don't educate the residents and the businesses," Greenberg said.

Team members agreed that "there should be a focus on education and outreach on recycling, trying to get to zero waste (deposited in landfills), branding how we're going to do it."

One of the Green Team's recommendations is for the city to form an Environmental Sustainability Advisory Council comprised of seven to 11 Bexley residents who have experience in the energy industry, engineering, recycling and other environment-related fields.

"The ESAC is going to be charged with meeting the mission and goals established in this plan and implementing the programs and strategies that are outlined in the priorities," Greenberg said. "The ESAC will provide advice to council."

Another recommendation the Green Team devised is for businesses and educational institutions to promote recycling by placing a clearly labeled recycling bin near each trash can.

Over the past few months, the team took part in tours of the Bexley City School District, Columbus School for Girls and Capital University, and spoke with representatives of each about the challenges they face in promoting recycling, Greenberg said.

"They all have similar issues," he said.

"They have contracting issues. They have issues with recycling containers and branding.

"It's really expensive," he said.

The Green Team's next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. July 20 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

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