Focus Green 2020
Bay Area Recycling for Charities is excited to announce the Focus Green 2020 campaign to help the Grand Traverse region become the greenest community in Michigan by the year 2020. Focus Green envisions a network of zero-waste communities in our region, where we reduce what goes into landfills and as much as possible is reused, repurposed, recycled, or composted.
Our community is calling for more composting and recycling of more materials and to respond to this challenge, BARC is seeking direct financial support to secure more space, land, equipment, and labor. We will be running our campaign through Indiegogo’s new Generosity crowdfunding website that allows you to donate and receive rewards!
The Focus Green 2020 Platform
Focus Green was created to bring together community members, businesses, other nonprofits and local governmental agencies from our unique and dynamic region together to make it even better by becoming a greener community. As we continue to concentrate our efforts and knowledge on the solid waste stream we will reach out to other entities in land development, water protection, and transportation to create a well rounded and thoughtful platform that uses the strengths of BARC to enhance their work and goals.
To support this platform, BARC will grow and develop the following key components:
Increase recycling efforts across the 5 county region.
- Diverting 50% or more waste from landfills by 2020 is already the goal of Grand Traverse County, and we will work to aid other other counties to achieve the same goal. Doing so will keep land available for enjoyment rather than burying our waste , and keep our air and water cleaner with less toxins breaking down in the soil.
- Funds raised will be used to grow curbside recycling, add employees, and purchase more recycling bins, trucks and trailer.
Keep mattresses out of our landfills.
- While we concentrate mostly on servicing the five counties of our Northwest Michigan region, the need for mattress recycling is huge. The number of companies taking on this labor intensive work are so few that we already have contracts with entities outside of our region. Mattresses take up huge space in our landfills, and 21 states have already banned mattresses in landfills (a practice that leads to dumping without other means of disposal).
- This is a much needed service and we are ready to grow it, but it is costly on many levels: warehousing mattresses, staging semi trailers, fuel costs, labor, etc. Investment will allow BARC to make these investments, allowing us to sell the materials harvested from the mattresses to be reused in other ways.
- At our current level of 20,000 mattresses per year we employ 7 workers, and we hope to grow that to 30-50,000 with investment.
Expand compost business.
- BARC currently composts food waste from Munson Medical Center and the Grand Traverse Resort along with several restaurants. Our goal is to help composting become a common and expected activity for our local restaurants, and we envision a relationship with the City of Traverse City and other communities to compost the leaves from pick-ups in the future.
- With funds raised, BARC will purchase farmland committed to composting and increase employment. We will also add an educational component that explains the circle of food, from earth to food to table and back to the earth.
- Affordable compost helps boost organic gardening, and the leaf pickup makes our compost rich in nutrients and ensures that leaves are returned to the earth in a productive way.
Begin biodiesel production.
- BARC already has equipment that can produce 400 gallons of biodiesel per day, but biodiesel production requires a separate building.
- Funding will allow BARC to establish the operation and hire staff, which will result long term in a tremendous savings to BARC as we will be able to fuel our entire fleet using our biodiesel.
Strengthen E-waste recycling.
- In 2014 BARC and Grand Traverse Industries (GTI) purchased an E-waste company. GTI is a local non-profit that provides training and employment services to persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Our joint E-waste effort incorporates an electronics dismantling program for GTI employees.
- In 2015, BARC received a DEQ grant to expand the program to include all of Northern Michigan, and in 2015 we took in nearly 800,000 pounds of electronics – 50 semi loads.
- Further funding will allow BARC to collect more E-waste from beyond our region thus strengthening the partnership with GTI and creating more employment.
Develop and conduct educational programs.
- We can only succeed in making our region the greenest if people understand the importance of and the ways in which they can participate in making this happen.
- To that end, school curriculums for K-12 grades have been developed by VISTA interns. Partnerships with school districts in our five county region will be formed to add these environmental education programs to the standard curriculum and/or offer these as extracurricular activities.
- We will also conduct workshops for service clubs and other adult organizations that inform the participants about our programs, teach them how to make their own lives more green, and educate the public about what we all can do to protect and enhance our area’s environmental health into the future.
- Funds raised will be used for staff to finalize and publish curriculum for use in the region and beyond. It will also be used for supporting our workshops through production of materials and other costs.
Promote zero waste events.
- BARC has been promoting our zero waste events to a broad range of functions from private parties to large beer and wine events in the area. As a non-profit we can pull liquor licenses for events. We then person the alcohol sales with our volunteers and staff who also manage the waste stream as part of their participation. The profits from the beer or wine sales benefit the nonprofit and we also promote the zero waste concept.
- Zero waste events reduce garbage going to landfills and increase compost output. Income received from these events is used to pay employees, support day-to-day operations, and create further education programs.