Friday, April 17, 2015

South Burlington, VT Litter Control Proposal


Clean City - Litter Control Proposal to South Burlington, Vermont City Council. April 20, 2015  


Does SB need business cleanliness & litter cleanup response time STANDARDS? What is your opinion? 


         Press Release (one page summary) is on the last page below.


We have tonight, the opportunity to change for the better, the social norm of our community. The following proposal for South Burlington ordinances and resolutions pertains to litter control.  This paper demonstrates that the City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and city wide litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.

Ask SB businesses to treat litter like snow. Pick it up within day or two after it hits the ground.

Purpose:  

The purpose of these proposed ordinances is, to set cleanliness standards and regulations for the control of litter in South Burlington, to set a bold and forefront path to a standout-clean Community.

The control of litter will have a lasting effect upon our city’s environment and appearance and earn South Burlington businesses and community, the highly valued Vermont clean branding.


Ask yourselves, why should we be tolerant of littered trash that degrades our city’s image?



Proposal Summary:

I.                Fortify the Vermont clean brand within South Burlington by directing all of our South Burlington businesses to maintain litter free properties year round.

II.             Initiate a city led, citizen driven [1]multi-faceted approach and management plan to eradicate or at least reduce litter in South Burlington, year round, for the sake of the health, and the economy of our community.

III.          Stimulate collaboration between the city offices and businesses, non-profits, schools, and citizens in order to expand litter picking and litter prevention activities in our South Burlington communities.

IV.          Commend those who support or take direct action(s) to help maintain a clean South Burlington environment.



This memorandum covers multiple points, to which I hope will favor this council to rule in support of the proposed ordinances and resolutions.






The reason for and the need of Proposed Ordinance LC-1 are: 

Although there is a focus on removing littered trash from our landscape on Green Up Day and during spring planting; unfortunately, outside those periods, there is a cumulative fall out of trash, which adds blight to our South Burlington business district and to our community overall.

Our Vermont image is described as pure, natural, beautiful and includes respect of the environment.

According to The Vermont Brand, a study by the O’Neil Strategy Group, a brand is a set of strong associations’ people have with a product, place or service. Brands exist in peoples’ minds, not in the product, place or service-itself. These associations are really expectations people have for that product, place or service.

Our businesses must constantly earn the valuable ‘Clean’ branding that Vermont conveys.

We know that littered trash is a detriment to both the health and the economy of our community.

Although some people view littered trash as the status quo. Some may have just stopped being conscious of the food packaging, plastic, and other littered trash. This does not make it benign, or an isolated or inconsequential problem.

Studies have shown that litter begets litter. That is, in general people are less apt to drop litter if the area is litter free, and more apt to drop litter at an area that is already littered.

Many of us share the opinion that ignoring littered trash is a behavior untrue to Vermont values and expect our businesses to align maintaining a clean litter-free on site environment, with other business objectives. 

We encourage our businesses to brand litter picking as a community building activity; helping to create cleanliness as a South Burlington social norm. 

It is easy to envision that a litter free community would be a social and economic benefit to South Burlington.

We support year round, clean, litter free South Burlington business properties, and public areas such as parks, schools, and roadways.

Electing clean storefronts is a matter of community pride. Moreover, it is a matter of differentiation for our South Burlington businesses.

The state statues and the existing South Burlington ordinances which give the council authority to adopt and enforce ordinances relating to prohibition of the accumulation of garbage, refuse and waste materials are documented below.  

The State of Vermont Statutes state:  the city shall have the powers guaranteed to towns and municipal corporations by the constitution and laws of this state together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution all the powers granted; and it may enact ordinances not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the state of Vermont or with this [2]charter.

Whereas, The general grant of (South Burlington) ordinance-promulgating authority in section 103 (§ 13-104. Ordinances; subjects) shall include, but shall not be limited to, the authority: (4) “to adopt and enforce ordinances relating to regulation, licensing or prohibition of the storage and accumulation of garbage, ashes, rubbish, refuse and waste materials; regulation of the removal and disposal of such materials; …”.

  
Let it be Resolved (Ordinance LC-1)
(This will mean that) South Burlington businesses will maintain litter free storefronts / business properties, year round in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health.

Meaning businesses will make sure that land under their control and to which the public have access (with or without payment) is kept free from litter and refuse year round.

          (A) Businesses definition: To include but not limited to, stores, hotels, motels, gas              stations, restaurants, bars, and commercial entities.

     (B) The responsibility for the removal of litter from business properties or                  receptacles shall be upon the owner(s) of the property or upon the business establishment residing at the property. It is the responsibility of the owners and operators of publicly patronized establishments to maintain their surrounding areas.

(C)   Business properties/storefronts include parking area, walkways, and green areas.

(D)   The emphasis is on the consistent and appropriate management of an area to keep it clean, not on frequency of cleaning. (Similar to snow, and ice, removal responsibilities.) This is dependent on effective monitoring of environmental conditions and the co-ordination of a carefully prioritized cleansing regime in response to litter trends, weather patterns and human activity.

(E)   We recommended that each business include in its operating procedures a zero litter policy for the outside of the business property similar to its indoor trash on the floor policy.

(F)   The cleanliness grades regarding litter are hereby defined as:


    1. Grade A    No litter or refuse (requirement on hard surfaces)

    2. Grade B   Predominantly free of litter apart from a few small items. (acceptable on soft surfaces)

    3. Grade C   Widespread distribution of litter with minor accumulations. (Unacceptable)

    4.  Grade D   Heavily littered with significant accumulations. (Unacceptable)

    5.  A grade (A) effectively means that no litter, in any form, is present on the land or parking lot, or walkways.

    6.    The presence of even one piece of litter or refuse automatically downgrades the environment to grade B. Grade (B) is an acceptable standard for areas with soft or other types of surfaces that are difficult to clean to a grade A. These include grassed and landscaped areas, and terrain such as earth.

   7.The presence of litter and refuse that is significant enough to form a few minor accumulations (grade C) or significant accumulations (grade D) on any surface, indicates non-compliance.


(G)   Clean up 'Response Times' are dictated according to the level of pedestrian and vehicular activity, and the type of land area use (type of business). Each type of land use area has a response time within which the business should return the property to an acceptable standard.

1.     High intensity of use (busy public areas, large parking lot may be indicative)

2.     Medium intensity of use (Small parking lot (less than 10 cars) may be indicative.)

3.     Low intensity of use (lightly trafficked areas. Offices might be indicative.)

4.     Areas with special circumstances (Where issues of health and safety and reasonableness and practicability are dominant considerations when undertaking cleansing operations).

There need to be standard response times because:

-If litter is left on the ground for days, by the time it is picked up many people have seen the degraded area. Over time that image becomes the community norm.

- We expect our businesses to clean up snow shortly after it falls onto the ground. Why not the same with litter?


- Litter begets litter. Littered areas promote littering behavior. Clean areas promote cleanliness behaviors.

  
 The table that follows can help you work out how quickly an area should be returned to cleanliness grade A.



High intensity of use
Medium intensity of use
Low Intensity of use
Special Circumstances
Nature of the area
Areas, which, through intense pedestrian and/or vehicular movements, are prone to fluctuations in the litter, refuse, and require both high levels of monitoring and frequent cleaning.
Areas affected by moderate levels of pedestrian and vehicular activity and therefore less prone to fluctuations in litter and refuse, usually situated outside retail or commercial activity, but used regularly by members of the public.
Areas subject to low or infrequent levels of pedestrian and vehicular activity and therefore less prone to fluctuations in litter and refuse, often located in office space, health facilities.
Types of land where issues of health and safety and reasonableness and practicability are dominant considerations when undertaking environmental maintenance work .
Maximum response time to restore to Grade A standard if it falls below grade B
One Day
Two Days
One Week
30 Days or as soon as reasonably practical


Type of land or area Use


Retail
Retail
All businesses in shared location of more than 2 businesses
All businesses in shared location of more than 2 businesses
Large grocery store

Restaurant, take out, gas stations
Restaurant, take out, gas stations

Hotel, Motel

Bars
Bars

Commercial

Office, Health org.


Industrial areas

   
  (H)  Where a litter problem is clearly traced to certain types of business, such as ‘food on the go’ establishments, grocery store (flyers); a local authority can issue a Street Litter Control Notice. This will compel the occupier, or the owner of business or retail premises, to clear up litter and implement measures to prevent the land from continued defacement.


   (I)  Litter Receptacles. To help prevent or reduce litter by pedestrians, we recommend that the owners of publicly patronized establishments provide and maintain publicly accessible litter receptacles on their premises.



Penalties for failure to comply with the cleanliness standards and or the actions called for in Ordinance L-1 are not being proposed at this time and as a compromise to businesses, none are being proposed for the future. The expectation is that businesses and the SBBA (South Burlington Business Association) will self police any out-liners - that is any businesses that are out of compliance. It is also an expectation that non compliance situations will be addressed by complying businesses who will assist in understanding any barriers to compliance, and give recommendations to the non compliant business.  

We can think of these three proposed ordinances not so much as regulations but as setting the expectations higher; setting standards of outdoor cleanliness which in turn will stimulate creative and collaborative litter clean up and prevention measures that will benefit us all. 

"This campaign (LC-1 portion) is really about winning souls not wagging big sticks. We are trying to get our businesses to brush their teeth as needed. We know and they know it is good for them. It is just a matter of raising expectations, (by setting standards) encouraging, facilitating, an helping to remove any barriers."
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While LC-1 addresses businesses specifically, LC-2 seeks to grow a citizen's grassroots involvement in developing and implementing  year round litter picking and litter prevention activities. 

Reason for Proposed Ordinance LC-2:

Whereas,  a multi-faceted approach is necessary to maintain a litter free community. When education (information, knowledge), enforcement (penalizing offenders) and engineering (making it easy and convenient) are integrated, attitude and behavior change are more likely to occur simultaneously.

Whereas, the Circle of Prosperity, (first articulated in Vermont back in 1997 by the Vermont Business Round-table), emphasizes the fact that economic development and healthy communities are a system, involving the collective and sometimes coordinated actions of many individuals, businesses, and institutions.


Let it be Resolved: (Ordinance LC-2)

We resolve to collaborate with interested parties such as South Burlington businesses, rotary, schools, and scouts, to explore both public and private initiatives to facilitate picking up litter shortly after occurrence, and address littering behaviors.

 This includes installing and maintaining more readily accessible trash and recycling containers for the public to deposit litter, recyclables, and cigarette butts at public and business locations.

Moreover, to give particular focus to high traffic areas that commonly experience littering in our community.  


(A) City Council to solicit a volunteer committee. (Perhaps invite a college ‘intern’ to join the committee even if not a SB resident.)

(B)  The Committee should be tasked with periodic evaluations and process improvement- including:


   1.     Litter management reviews: Determine litter control best practices.

A.    Solicit and encourage business support of litter control measures.

B.    Create incentive programs. (For example, a yearly ‘Golden Broom Award’ for business with best cleanliness, litter-free results and litter control management processes.)

2.     Cleanliness monitoring:  Measure cleanliness levels, and assess improvements, over time.

A.    Business litter scorecard (similar to Health Dept. restaurant food scorecard) Publish quarterly.

          B.    Catalog of Litter surveys: Categorize the litter in sample surveyed areas, and record quantities, types, and percentage of total by type. Utilize data to help determine source of most predominant litter materials.


      3. Attitude and awareness: Gather public sentiment on perception of litter in the city, on cleanup activities, and on local business performance against clean standards.

           4.    Identify solutions for specific; consistent litter issues (For example, escaped grocery store ads/flyers).

           5.    Publicize cleanliness standards. Inform citizens of the standards of cleanliness they can expect and the action to take if they are dissatisfied.

           A.   Identify the steps to record and deal with the complaint and timescale for responses.

      6.   Manage cigarette litter as a specific challenge. (Prevention, education (butts are litter), promote installation of ash containers /cig. butt depositories).

      7.  Create and present a litter education package to SB students. (or seek to delegate to another group)


      8.   Encourage and promote the Adopt-a-block campaign. Citizens sign up to pick up litter periodically in a public area of the city of their choosing-for a term of one year.  

      9.   Solicit and Encourage SB school students to create and implement their own litter reduction programs. (Ex. Litter songs, litter online arcade games, Green Up Day Poster and writing contest participation, litter videos, PSA.).
  
    10.   Solicit and Encourage nonprofit groups like scouting, and SB Rotary to implement their own litter related programs.

    11. Organize ‘Fall Sweep’ campaign for pre-snow annual citywide litter clean up in November.

        12.   Encourage SB citizens, especially students to utilize [3]Litterati’ / instagram as a fun way to clean up litter

        13.    Host Red Rocks Beach cleanup event annually

        14.   View my[4]web page under the ‘Got Talent?’ tab to see more litter cleanup campaign starter-seed ideas.


For continuitycontinuous improvement and to measure results:

Let it be Resolved (Ordinance LC-3): We (City Council and City Mgr.) further resolve to take a read out each year in April in order to gauge effectiveness and status of said South Burlington litter reduction initiatives.



Resolutions LC-4, LC-5, LC-6:
The purpose of these three resolutions is to commend those who support or take direct action(s) to reduce litter in South Burlington. 


Whereas, caring, and contribution help build community,


Resolution LC-4:
 Now therefore let it be resolved, the city of SB City Council and City Manager hereby commend and thank the members of the SBLT (South Burlington Land Trust) for managing the SB Green Up Day drop off site at City Hall, running the ‘Unusual Litter Find’ contest, and for promoting participation in SB Green Up Day.


Resolution LC-5:
 Now therefore let it be resolved, The city of SB City Council and City Manager hereby commend and thank the businesses and citizens of South Burlington who participate in, and otherwise support South Burlington’s Green Up Day.


Resolution LC-6:
Now therefore let it be resolved, we hereby commend and thank the citizens of South Burlington that have pledged to Adopt-a-block, and who pick up litter year round in each their chosen street, park, or other public area within our South Burlington community. 

For 2014 those included but not exclusive of: Marga & Glenn Sproul, Ann Slatery, The Scarpa Family, Kelsey Hudson, Rosanne Greco, Paul Engels, Jane Boisvert, Walter Luchini, Susan Saferstein,  Maida Townsend, and Chris Shaw.

In Conclusion,

Many of our businesses and many of our citizens of South Burlington demonstrate great pride in our city by picking up litter on both public and private domains, with particular focus on Green Up Day and during spring planting.

However, litter is visible throughout the year at many of our city’s business locations.

How long litter remains on business properties remains inconsistent without a set of standards and expectations set by the city. Without these standards, litter attracts more litter, debasing the image of South Burlington.

Litter free standards serve to support the health of our environment, the health of our citizens, as well as the economy of our city.

We expect our businesses to earn Vermont’s clean branding continually. We expect SB businesses to advance pride in community by maintaining litter free business properties year round.  

The City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.

The city should also take an annual read out on a Clean City dept or committee regarding business compliance, litter surveys, best practices, and celebrate successes.

As citizens of South Burlington, we respectfully ask the council members and the city manager to review this analysis, the points of argument, and resolve to adopt and implement as is or in similar form.

Thank You City Council members and City Manger for consideration of these proposed litter ordinances.

Let us make our street the cleanest in our city, our city the cleanest city in the state.


Respectfully submitted,
Bernie Paquette, SB VT
April 2015 
            

Footnotes


[1]  A multi-faceted approach is necessary to maintain a litter free community. When education (information, knowledge), enforcement (penalizing offenders) and engineering (making it easy and convenient) are integrated, attitude and behavior change are more likely to occur simultaneously.
[2] The Vermont Statutes Online Title 24 Appendix: Municipal Charters Chapter 13: CITY OF SOUTH BURLINGTON Amended 2/1/12
[3] Litterati: 1. Find a piece of litter. 2. Photograph it with Instagram. 3. Hashtag your photo with ‘Litterati’. 4. Throw away, recycle, or compost the piece of litter. Source http://www.litterati.org/
[4] http://www.litterwithastorytotell.blogspot.com/


Definition of Litter:
"Litter – including but not limited to, trash, rubbish, refuse, such as paper, cans, and bottles, cigarette buttsthrown, tossed, dropped, left lying in an open or public place.

Vt State Litter Laws Sec. 3. 24 V.S.A. ' 2201 …refuse; bottles,glass,  crockery,cans,scrap metal, plastic, solid waste as defined in 10 V.S.A. ‘6602, junk paper garbage, old automobiles, or parts thereof, refuse of whatever nature, or any noxious thing
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I would be happy to discuss in more detail and listen to any concerns with the proposals with anyone. I can be flexible on time and place. I am seeking invites to any interested group or organization including business orgs. to present the proposals and open for discussion and debate and to seek opinions, feedback, recommendations.

Does South Burlington need business cleanliness and litter clean up response time standards?

Whats your opinion?
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PRESS RELEASE - One page summary
Clean City Ordinance Proposal
On Monday April 20, I offered the South Burlington City Council a proposal for ordinances and resolutions pertaining to litter control. The purpose of these ordinances is, to set standards and regulations for the control of litter in South Burlington, to set a bold and forefront path to a standout-clean Community. 

It is the purpose of these proposed ordinances to help preserve the public health, safety, and economic well being of South Burlington, by requiring businesses to manage their properties in such a manner as to keep them clean (free of litter) year round. Also to provide objectives and seed material for grassroots citizen and city driven campaign(s) to reduce litter in SB.  

The emphasis is on the consistent and appropriate management of an area to keep it clean, not on frequency of cleaning. (Similar to snow, and ice, removal responsibilities.) How long litter remains on business properties remains inconsistent without a set of standards and expectations set by the city.

Ask yourselves, why should we be tolerant of littered trash that degrades our city’s image?

Proposal Summary:
I.   Fortify the Vermont clean brand within South Burlington by directing all South Burlington businesses to maintain litter free properties year round.

II. Initiate a multi-faceted approach and management plan to eradicate or at least reduce litter in South Burlington, year round, for the sake of the health, and the economy of our community.

III. Stimulate collaboration between the city offices and businesses, non-profits, schools, and citizens in order to expand litter picking and litter prevention activities in our South Burlington communities.

IV. Commend those who support or take direct action(s) to help maintain a clean South Burlington environment.

Proposed Ordinance LC-1

 South Burlington businesses will maintain litter free storefronts / business properties, year round in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. Meaning businesses will make sure that land under their control and to which the public have access is kept free from litter and refuse year round.


Many businesses and many citizens of South Burlington demonstrate great pride in our city by picking up litter on both public and private domains, with particular focus on Green Up Day and during spring planting. However, litter is visible throughout the year at many of our city’s business locations.

The City of South Burlington should set clean city, litter free business standards, and litter control management processes, and measurements to ensure year round compliance, and constant improvement.

The city should also take an annual read out on a Clean City dept or committee regarding business compliance, litter surveys, best practices, and celebrate successes.

As a citizen of South Burlington, I respectfully ask the council members and the city manager to review this analysis, the points of argument, and resolve to implement as is or in similar form.

The full memorandum covers multiple points, and detailed line item recommendations to which I hope will favor this council to rule in support of the proposed ordinances and resolutions. View the full report @ http://www.litterwithastorytotell.blogspot.com/.

Let us make our street the cleanest in our city, our city the cleanest city in the state.
Respectfully submitted,
Bernie Paquette, SB VT
April 2015
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