The Institute for Local Self-Reliance worked with Zero Waste Associates to prepare Baltimore’s Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste for United Workers of Baltimore. The plan was released by United Workers, based in the Curtis Bay section of south Baltimore, on February 22, 2020. Presentation of the report and videos was led by United Workers’ young activists, who were also essential in stopping a planned 4,000 tons-per-day garbage incinerator in Curtis Bay in 2016. That extraordinary victory led to the mobilization of the entire city to focus on shutting down the existing garbage incinerator in downtown Baltimore. The city is among those in the U.S. with the highest rates of breathing related diseases.
The plan provides a step-by-step guide to transitioning away from incineration and toward recycling, composting and reuse, which will expand the economy by 1,800 jobs within two years, according to the report. Priority actions needed to commit to Zero Waste (ZW) include:
- Establish goal to divert 90% of all materials discarded in the city from landfill, incinerators and the environment by 2040.
- Set ZW goals and initiatives within each city department and each public school focusing on employment and waste reduction outcomes
- Establish source separated recycling and organics collection at all city facilities
- Fully fund ZW Plan initiatives