Green Aberdeen has now got initial approval for our 501(c)3 and we hope that we will soon get final approval. However, we can now apply for grants and people can give tax-deductible donations to our group. We are one step further in our journey to help Aberdeen, SD become a carbon-neutral/zero-waste community. There are some things that we have control and some that are a little beyond our reach, but we can have influence.
One thing that South Dakota is quietly doing that even surprised me is that according to a government website, 70% of electricity that we use as South Dakotans come from renewable sources. 46% comes from hydro-electric, 24% comes from wind farms, 21% comes from coal, and 9% comes from natural gas. In 2008, 52% of our electricity came from coal. That means without any big initiative or fan fare, we have moved our state and city towards have CO2-free electricity.
The majority of our recycled materials have been shipped to overseas. Now with the trade war with China, who bought much of it, our recycling companies and communities are having a hard time finding buyers and a place for the stuff we do recycle. We, as a nation, passed the buck by instead of building the infrastructure to process our own garbage and recyclables, we have shipped it over there. This will take some leadership by our government and incentives to make recycling a true part of our nation.
The second part of this that the companies/corporations who make the products we buy often do it with just one-use plastics and other materials which make it harder for us not to just throw it away. We need to look for the products that are made from recyclable materials and can be recycled and buy them, encouraging them to continue to make those investments.
One other part of going to a zero-waste community is that 20% of the land fill is food. The scraps, left-overs, and food that has gone bad, makes us a significant part of our landfill. We can do our best at home to reduce this and create laws in our community for composting that allow for homes and businesses to do this safely and sanitary.
I am going to try to do a weekly blog on what is happening. If you have questions or suggestions for future topics, please feel free to drop us a line.
Peace, Rev. Enno K. Limvere, President of Green Aberdeen