Last fall, when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing on the City of Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy plant, hundreds of protesters turned out to decry the plans.
The gasification plant
, which would turn trash into energy to be used by Cleveland Public Power, would result in unacceptable levels of pollution in urban neighborhoods, environmental groups said.
Since then, the city has terminated its agreement with its controversial consultant, Peter Tien. However, CPP says that it is still studying the waste-to-energy plant as well as other options to increase recycling, reduce costs and generate electricity.
To capitalize on the renewed interest in recycling and composting generated by the public meetings earlier this year, environmental groups are now pressing the city to develop a more comprehensive plan. Ohio Citizen Action, Earthday Coalition and other groups have organized the Cleveland Composting and Recycling Forum
on Saturday, June 2nd at the downtown YMCA.
“Clevelanders have said loud and clear that they want stronger recycling programs,” commented Chris Trepal, Executive Director of Earth Day Coalition
, in a news release. “The urban gardening and local food community in Cleveland creates hundreds of opportunities for the productive use of compost.”
"We're hoping to bring in good ideas from other cities," adds Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action, who says that the local and national speakers attending the event will provide a litany of successful models.
The public forum takes place at a crucial time, as the city is gearing up to roll out its recycling program to additional neighborhoods over the course of the summer.
Brian Cummins, a Cleveland Councilman who represents the Brooklyn Centre, Clark-Fulton and Stockyards neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed gasification plant, says that the city's recycling program needs improvement.
"The city claims this is a comprehensive system, but they haven't been able to roll it out citywide due to budget problems," he says. "We need to look at incentives to recycle, such as 'pay as you throw' fees that other cities are now using."
The City of Cleveland has stated that its goal in the next few years is to roll out its recycling program to all neighborhoods. No composting program currently exists.
Source: Chris Trepal, Brian Cummins
Writer: Lee Chilcote