With both the city and county ready to tackle the issue of trash — to the tune of a $400,000 study — we are pleased to see other approaches to solid waste bubbling up in the community.
The fresh idea is to have no waste at all. That’s right, handle trash by eliminating it.
To learn more, interested people can attend “No More Garbage: Zero Waste,” a training offered this week by Gary Liss at the Santa Fe Community College. There’s a talk on Thursday night and a workshop all day Friday. (Details, including cost at http://carboneconomyseries.com.)
According to organizers, implementing Zero Waste can address problems of climate change as well as help businesses save money. To quote: “Garbage is not inevitable. It is the result of bad design. It can be designed out of the system.” Governments, in fact, with their statutory and purchasing powers can use the stick and carrot to help businesses provide products that don’t have waste. It’s a big goal — according to one of Liss’ points, “Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.” It’s a world without garbage or landfills, in other words. No landfills means a reduction in methane gases, and reusing trash is a job creator — with reuse of 10,000 tons of solid waste translating into 75 to 250 jobs, as compared to one job at a landfill. These are just some of the numbers that Liss will share at the workshop; it’s something he does across the country, as well as develop plans for communities that want to cut out waste as a way of life. Many of those towns and cities are in California — imagine, the city of Fresno is one of the places leading the way. It’s greener than Santa Fe when it comes to trash.
Both individuals and city and county officials who deal with trash would benefit from learning how we can move from recycling to Zero Waste. Part of the Carbon Economy Series, this workshop is a must-attend for everyone who cares about being a better steward of the Earth.
Judge stops bad deal
A quick word of thanks to Judge Stephen Pfeffer, who threw out a plea agreement Monday in a robbery and aggravated assault case. Judge Pfeffer told attorneys for the prosecution and defense that no jail time was unacceptable — the defendant pulled a gun on someone, and for that, Pfeffer said, jail is a must.
Good for Judge Pfeffer. The notion that electronic monitoring is OK for a gun crime is wrong. The accused, Gabriel D. Martinez, admitted through the plea that on July 10, he was trying to leave Wal-Mart, 3251 Cerrillos Road, with $300 worth of cigarettes that he did not pay for. One employee intervened and was whacked on the head. A second approached, and Martinez is accused of then pointing a gun. Because of Martinez’s youth — he was only 20 at the time of the incident — drunkenness and lack of priors, attorneys had agreed to electronic monitoring for one year and five years probation. Pfeffer rightly said, “Somebody pulls out a gun on somebody, in commission of a felony, I don’t believe electronic monitoring is appropriate.”
What’s troubling about the deal goes beyond no jail time. Martinez, since the original crime, has ended up back in jail for not complying with conditions of release. He’s hardly a poster child for remorse and redemption. Thanks to the judge’s intervention, a new plea deal is being worked out, and the case returns to court in April. Considering that Martinez was facing up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine, time in the slammer is the least he can expect — not to mention offering an apology to the employees Martinez damaged that night with his threatening behavior.