SUSTAINABILITY, IT’S A LIFESTYLE
In May 2008, the City of Sheboygan Common Council adopted a resolution establishing a Sustainable Sheboygan Task Force (SSTF). The purpose of the task force is to study and make recommendations to the Common Council regarding strategies to be adopted by the City for creating and maintaining a sustainable Sheboygan. When the SSTF was formed, its focus was topics such as recycling, green purchasing, energy conservation, waste management, sustainability measures, and raising community awareness on environmental stewardship.
In March of 2015, the City’s first sustainability plan was approved by the Common Council as a basis for directing the efforts of the SSTF for the next five years. The plan includes action steps that are short-term (0-3 years) and long-term (implantation in 4 or more years). SSTF members will work with City Department staff to implement the action steps and prepare an annual report to brief others on the accomplishments in that given year.
For the 2016 year, the SSTF approved working on four key tasks: implementation of residential composting program, implementation of residential rain barrel program, outreach and education on recycling, and developing a dedicated City sustainability website. The 10-member committee representing both private sector business as well as public sector officials has signed up for one of the four goals and determined leaders for the groups.
Recycling: the project scope is to focus on improving curb-side recycling in 2016. The working group has developed three tasks to focus on during the next year. Task No. 1: Data Collection. The group is learning how the recyclables are picked up, how they may be able to assist the garbage truck drivers, educating the homeowners of why blue bags are important. Task No. 2: Recycling Education in Schools. The group will continue to work with elementary and middle schools to educate students on the importance of recycling. Task No. 3: Education to other demographics in the community. The leader of this group is Sean Hurley
Rain Barrels: the project scope is holding a rain barrel making event and assist homeowners in creating one and using it on their property. The City has worked with local companies to obtain clean, safe blue barrels. The committee will be holding an event in late spring/early summer to assist interested parties in building a rain barrel system to collect rain water from their roofs. The leader of this group is Ryan Burg.
Composting: the plan is to develop a residential composting program that educates residents on how to compost in their backyard. The group will utilize existing organizations that have been educating the public in other platforms. The focus group will also determine the most cost effective backyard composting device and may provide city residents with bins at reduced costs. The leader of this group is Jenny Conrardy.
Website: this focus group is working to develop a dedicated city sustainable website that can be portal for distributing information from the other three focus groups in an easy to navigate site. The website will include educational resources and annual reports of the city’s sustainability efforts. The leader of this group is Brian Schwaller. Visit sustainsheboygan.com for more info.
Participation by residents in each of the focus areas is key to the success. If you have an interest in participating or assistance with implementation, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 459-3317 and we will connect you with the appropriate leader of the group for you to become involved. Your continued support and understanding of these very important initiatives will make Sheboygan a more sustainable livable community focusing on environment and economic sustainability, urban infrastructure, social equity and municipal government.