What Carbon Neutrality and Zero Waste Entails for Chattanooga

Climate Action Plan Infographic Final

An overview of some of the key components of the Climate Action Plan announced by Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. (Courtesy: City of Chattanooga)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly unveiled a Climate Action Plan Tuesday that he hopes propels Chattanooga into a green future.

Nick: In Mayor Kelly’s Climate Action Plan, two of his main goals are to achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste for the Chattanooga city government by 20-40, and for the entire city by 2050.

But what does carbon neutrality and zero waste exactly mean, and what do we need to do to accomplish these goals?

The executive director for local environmental nonprofit, Greenspaces, Michael Walton, said, “They’re going to be looking at their internal operations. Where they buy energy, and the fuel that they put in their vehicles, as well as the wastewater treatment plant is a big piece of that.”

Making the community carbon neutral requires a focus on our energy and transportation infrastructure.

Walton said, “So the energy that TVA generates and sells to EPB, and then EPB distributes. That is already about 60 percent carbon free, and TVA is on track to getting that to carbon neutral by 2050 in terms of how we generate electricity.”

He says that the increasing conversion to electric vehicles will help far more than our carbon footprint.

Walton said, “When you think about all of the money that we spend as a region on gas and diesel, and you think about how none of that stays here today. When we switch that over to electric, not only does the driver save 60 percent on a day to day basis, but the money they are spending stays in our local economy.”

On zero waste, he says the main keys to achieving that goal will be increasing composting and reducing use of plastics that end up in our waste streams.

Walton said, “You can get a lot of stuff that looks like plastic, works like plastic, but is actually compostable. You can get reusable things for to go containers. Restaurants can buy compostable to go items.”

Mayor Kelly’s Climate Action Plan will be up for public comment on March 21st and be up for a vote before the City Council on March 28th.

You can learn about the plan here and the topics its covering here.

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