Month: February 2012

Letter to City of Albuquerque re: Sustainability

A letter Gregg sent to local elected officials about the backwardness of the waste policy:

16 February 2012

Mayor
Richard J. Berry: [email protected]

City Councilors
Debbie O’Malley: [email protected]
Ken Sanchez: [email protected]
Isaac Benton: [email protected]
Brad Winter: [email protected]
Dan Lewis: [email protected]
Rey Garduño: [email protected]
Michael Cook: [email protected]
Trudy Jones: [email protected]
Don Harris: [email protected]

County Commissioners
Art De La Cruz: [email protected]
Maggie Hart Stebbins: [email protected]
Wayne Johnson: [email protected]
Michelle Lujan Grisham: [email protected]
Michael Wiener: [email protected]

Solid Waste Management Department
Jill Holbert: [email protected]

Albuquerque Environmental Story
Dan Jones: [email protected]
Lee Hammer: [email protected]
Susan Jones: [email protected]

For 20 years, I have happily called Albuquerque my home. In those years I have seen many things change yet many other things stay the same. The reason for my letter is to express my point of view that the City of Albuquerque is still lagging in the fact that business and the environment can prosper together. We live in an environment that is ripe for sustainability and our city can become world class but it needs political vision to encourage it forward. I will explain.

I own a furniture manufacturing company that only uses natural and domestic supplies and we craft everything right here in Albuquerque. I employee three employees and pay my taxes ungrudgingly. As a company, we are moving to be as sustainable and as carbon neutral as possible. We recycle all of our metal, cardboard, plastics, glass, etc and even donate our wood shavings to local farmers to use as bedding which ultimately becomes compost. Additionally, we donate our small pieces of wood to a great local charity, East Central Ministries. They use the wood for various projects to teach young and old new skills as well as developing business sense. We participate in PNM’s Sky Blue program and I want to install solar panels on our building as soon as I can afford the capital expenditure.

The reason for my frustration is waste. Let me provide some background. The previous owner of the company would fill up two 4-yard dumpsters per week that ended up in the landfill. We have found that with a little bit of focus and determination, we are able to repurpose 99% of what others considered “waste”. So, I called the Solid Waste Department on Friday to cancel our dumpster because we simply do not use it. I was rudely informed that I MUST have commercial pickup. From earlier discussions with Solid Waste, I also know that the minimum number of pickups you can have is one time per week. I understand that from government’s perspective you do not want people illegally dumping waste all over town or on the West Mesa. However, from my perspective, companies that want to work toward sustainability are being discouraged from doing the right thing. The Solid Waste Department’s policies are backwards and wrongly create a tax on companies that are leading the way toward a balanced triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

Ultimately, I would like to see the City and/or County give credits to businesses for not generating waste but I understand that change like this takes time. In the short term, I respectfully ask for some simple changes to the commercial pickup policies. It should not be difficult to schedule only a monthly pickup or remove pickups all together if a company agrees to and signs an environmental stewardship statement. Creating public policy that encourages environmental sustainability is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Gregg Mich
dapwood furniture co.
3303 vassar dr ne
albuquerque nm 87107
p:505.294.3322
f: 505.293.4926
www.dapwood.com