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Mayor Bowser Celebrates Earth Day by Hosting First-Ever 'Path to Zero Waste' Summit

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

(Washington, DC) – On Earth Day, Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director Tommy Wells hosted the first-ever “Path to Zero Waste” Summit in an effort to reduce waste in the District of Columbia. The summit is part of Mayor Bowser’s bold agenda to move the city towards zero waste, save residents money and create more pathways to the middle class.

“There’s no better time than Earth Day to announce my administration’s pledge to move the District towards a zero waste future,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are making a fresh start on waste policy and Earth Day 2015 will mark the first day of a newfound commitment to changing the dialogue about how we reduce waste, save money and create jobs in DC.”

“The District is one of the most sustainable cities in the country, leading the nation in green buildings, green power purchasing, and fitness–among others,” added Mayor Bowser. “With a strong sustainability plan and widespread community support, there is no reason we shouldn’t be a leader on waste diversion.”

Held at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke Law School, Mayor Bowser was joined at the summit by officials and representatives from the District Government in addition to experts in waste reduction from across the country and Canada.

The District has demonstrated national leadership on several specific waste-related initiatives, including becoming one of the first cities to place a fee on disposable bags.  In a recent survey, 67% of District residents reported a reduction in plastic bag litter since the fee took effect.

Last year, the District joined other leading states and cities in passing legislation to ban the use of foam and other non-recyclable food service containers. The Department of General Services (DGS) has also been running a composting program with 45 participating DC Public Schools (DCPS) this year, and is researching the ability to convert food waste from the public building portfolio into electricity using anaerobic digestion.
The summit coincided with the release of the second year progress report of the Sustainable DC Plan, where over 90% of actions are already underway. To view the report, go here.

The Bowser Administration’s Food Policy Council, under the leadership of restauranteur and Spike Mendelsohn, will work with stakeholders on ways to reduce amount of restaurant and other food service waste that goes to landfills.