Steve believes we can find opportunities in trash. In the Age of Trump, it is imperative that cities lead on climate change, and one of our best opportunities lies in diverting more recyclable material from landfills. Steve has been a relentless proponent of new recycling initiatives—especially the recycling of organic material—and is pleased that the City is initiating a pilot food recycling program this year. This has enormous promise. We should turn our attention to other waste categories as well, including textiles which make up 10% of our waste stream.

What Steve's done.

  • Worked for several years to get funding for a waste characterization study into the City budget so that the City could identify recycling possibilities.

  • Participated in a pilot waste characterization study separating and weighing trash.

  • Rode with trash and recycling crews on the back of their trucks to understand our solid waste work.

  • Led advocacy for a pilot program to recycle food waste in Durham—which makes up about 25% of our waste stream and costs the city lots of money when it is shipped to a landfill in a rural area. The City is conducting this pilot program in the next year.

  • Continuing to encourage innovative thinking on the part of staff about the opportunities provided to us to recycle more of our waste stream.

  • Voted to fund the solid waste department with tax dollars instead of a regressive solid waste fee that would have hit low-income people the hardest.

  • Gave the keynote address at the N.C. Solid Waste Consortium.