Environmental Committee, Town Agendas & Minutes|

Chestertown Environmental Committee
In Person and Virtual
November 9, 2023  

In Attendance:  Michael Hudak (Washington College), Secethia Davis, Dave Sobers, Brad Hollomon, Margie Lance, Carole Trippe, Erin Heckles, Sarah Starman, Marcus Goldman, Jenny Freebery.

Virtual: Anne Stevens, Joe Maisano, Andy Goddard

Meeting Overview & Agenda

 Main topics were the plastic bag recycling ordinance and local experiences with wild flower meadows, both small and large, public and private, and the rules and promotions of them. The meeting agenda, shown below, was followed closely.


Agenda Items CEC 11/9/23

Approve October minutes

Treasurer’s Report

Plastic Bag Ban- Meghan Efland 

Chestertown 2011 ordinance CHAPTER 133: PLASTIC BAG REDUCTION (amlegal.com)

Centreville proposed ordinance https://www.townofcentreville.org/sites/default/files/fileattachments/ordinance/3097/ord-02-2023-plastic_bags-approved.pdf 


Exceptions to the plastic bag ban- ex small businesses, food etc.

Ways to encourage reusable vs plastic

What to do to discourage thicker plastic bags that aren’t recycled

PR and outreach

Equity- a reusable bag giveaway for SNAP participants? 

Updates on parks/water and habitat- Secethia

Recycling update- Dave 

Energy/EV update- Tom

Shorerivers 1000 trees- areas we think might be good in Chestertown

Website updates

December meeting- social or functional or hybrid?

Treasury Report: There were no changes to the report this month

Energy Committee:  Nothing reported this month

Jon Hanley wrote an email outlining rules about accepting batteries from recycling vendors.

Plastic Bag Recycling:

  1. Chestertown had an ordinance before the pandemic.
  2. The town should use the Centerville ordinance as a model, Salisbury too.
  3. A 10¢ fee on all non-recyclable bags sold commercially should be imposed on businesses
  4. CEC should find ways to promote reusable bags, fabric, non-plastic, big handles, etc.
  5. A desire to promote policies that can be uniformly applied across municipalities was stated as a long term goal.
  6. CEC should consider handing out bags on Earth Day.
  7. At present the proposed ordinance does not address deliveries.
    1. Deposits should be an aspect of delivery bag use.
  8. Food takeout rules are another vast area that is not addressed with the current ordinance
  9. Businesses must be engaged and efforts to raise awareness of plastic bag use and recycling in general need to be a priority at the Town Council level.
  10. CEC acknowledges that many of the best ideas about bag recycling are cost prohibitive
  11. Branding techniques should be developed to promote bag recycling/reuse. Various aspect of advertising and publicizing were discussed.
  12. There was a recommendation that there be a warning and fines associated with the ordinance.

Wildflower Meadows

A presentation was made by Marcus Goldman on his 0.1 acre wildflower meadow and the legality and maintenance of wildflower areas.

  1. Recommendations were made about a change to the ordinance governing this land use aspect that included verbiage about supporting habitats.
  2. The “river friendly yard” concept was discussed at some length.
  3. A mechanism for the town to develop a process to authorize a wildflower meadow was proposed.
    1. This way, one or two at a time could be approved and slowly the town would be transformed.
  4. The town code is 54-1 and it says, “the owner or agent of any lot, place or area within the town shall keep the property free from weeds, noxious plants or grass growth in excess of eight inches.”
  5. Secethia reported that the Recreation Commission 10 year plan will be postponed until this spring
  6. There were questions about rain gardens and exactly what is allowed in them.
  7. A need for an education process exists and should be addressed.
  8. Next steps:
    1. Meet with water habitat committee
    2. Letter to Town Council

Recycling At Events

  1. Anne Stevens- Dickins weekend
    1. Gold standard of sustainable festival is Down rigging- composting and recycling options
  2. No new information, but call for volunteers for recycling stations
    1. Call for volunteers once Anne knows what is needed
  3. Encourage alternatives for clam shells- make some suggestions
  4. Vendors have a shell recovery bucket
  5. Enforce rules with vendors
  6. Ask CEC to help policing recycling at events
  7. Town should be involved.
    1. Right kind and number of bins
    2. Transfer of recycled materials
    3. Tea Party might be too big to control
  8. Recent Down rigging event was cited as a “Best Practices” event

Ford Schuman- On Recycling

  1. Plan to meet mayor and council in January about getting recycling back
  2. Ford will be in touch with Wallace Henry this Friday
  3. Place in Odessa DE (40 mile away) that will take recycling, but concerns about out of state recycling- concerns about additional costs of crossing state lines- see if town would pick up additional cost
  4. Sultana zero waste- went really well- filled 1 30 gallon with trash, 20 30 gallon with compostable and recyclables
  5. Cost to transport composting- Ford will take to Veterans for about $20- Ford checks for the contamination before the delivery
  6. Only one place to deposit discards- need to have someone constantly monitoring itThe current trash handler may become a recycler for the town.

Shore Rivers Tree Grant

  1. Shore Rivers is looking for places in the more urban parts of our community to plant trees
  2. The trees would be planted by tree stewards
  3. Need a plan on how to recommend places for planting trees.
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