As I grew up my parents taught me that you should always leave a place better than you found it. This has me always thinking about how we can be more environmentally sustainable and responsible.

Last week I read an article about Brighton School District going Zero Waste. This caught my interest so I reached out to the company who is helping them make it happen (Impact Earth). Shortly after I met with some of their staff to discuss what they do and how businesses and other organizations can start going zero waste. As the conversation evolved I began to see how it would be possible for Rochester’s City Government to become a zero waste municipality.

Here is the plan I believe would be most effective:

First, we start small. We start with City Hall. We implement small changes that make a big impact by changing where our waste goes and how it is sorted. (According to the staff at Impact Earth these changes typically cost the same or less than what regular waste management already costs so there should be either a savings or a long-term decrease in cost).

After City Hall has been successfully converted we can work on switching the schools over one by one. Not only will this have a large impact, but the students will have the opportunity to learn to be more environmentally conscious based on example and practice in school. This will lead to a greater awareness in homes across the city.

Once the School District is fully moved over we can then work on phasing the zero waste process into the trash collection in our parks and on our streets. The foundation of this process will have already been instilled in the children of our community because it will already be implemented in their schools. The young people in our community will be able to lead the way for better care of our environment.