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Monday December 1, 2008
Ambler Main Street Green Committee Meeting Minutes

Recycling
1) Ron was unable to attend. Susan mentioned his initiatives -- welcome packages for new businesses/homeowners, existing locations of recycling dumpsters, and Mascaro's answer to hosting new dumpsters for recyclables. Neither Mascaro nor Allied Waste were favorable toward providing recycling dumpsters for free or low cost. A recent economic drop in commodity prices for cardboard and aluminum makes the situation more difficult. The Waste System Authority of Eastern Montgomery County offered an update on the economics of recycling.

2) Susan recently attended a Main Street Business Association meeting. The few attending small business owners said that they did not generate enough volume to warrant additional pick-up costs. Instead, they take their recyclables off site. Locating a ClearStream stand inside their store did not seem feasible considering there are people who throw away cans that are half full of soda -- the sticky liquid would attract ants and not smell good while waiting for enough recycling to accumulate to take it to a dumpster. Only businesses that generate enough cans and bottles to fill a bag every day would be likely candidates.

Ambler Gold Star & Green Ribbon Awards
3) Susan interviewed Verde, and verbally reported the green practices -- mostly in wall paint, materials bought, reusing and restoring furniture, soaps and candles, buying from local artists, and bagging in 100% post-consumer bags. Ideally, businesses such as Verde would be given an entire page on our website to recognize their green efforts.

Discussion of a nomination process, formal award presentation, and other procedures for the award process ensued. Criteria needs to be determined. All agreed it would be a good idea to make the website user-friendly for making nominations and recognizing businesses.

Matthias recounted his recycling interview with Pure Spa and suggested they would be a likely business for nomination.

Chris enlightened us on the Ambler Theater's green practices. He went on to say that given a little more time he desires to implement more green practices. Daniel suggested: at that time nominating the theater for a green award would be in order.

Website Upgrades 4) The status of the website was revisited. It was noted the following areas are under constant updating: the committee's meeting minutes; the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement; Educational Materials for the Public, Schools, Professional Associations, Businesses and Industry; and the Ambler Gold Star & Green Ribbon Awards.

An effort will be made to develop the Awards section of the website and encourage viewer interactivity, business nominations and gaining committee volunteers. It was noted that there has been some success in this area including Janice Truskey's Online Fine Art Gallery and Chocolate Bytes.

Chris suggested linking to greenyour.org. Susan suggested links to Ambler's page at AmericanTowns and www.Recycle.dpw.dc.gov

Chris inquired about obtaining a unique domain name for the green website.

Bike Racks
5) The combined effort of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and Ambler Green to provide one or more bike racks was discussed. Attempts had been made to contact SEPTA for permission to site a rack. Currently, the known bicycle racks are at the library, YMCA and under the roof of the north bound SEPTA station. Additional locations under consideration include the Post Office and the Municipal Parking Lot at Cavalier Street.

Plastic Bag Free Ambler
6) Sigi's Plastic Bag Free Ambler proposal write-up was passed out and reviewed. Questions were raised about the best approach to gain business participation, as well as, whether the amount of damage caused to environment is as great as stated.

Plastic bag free Wales (UK) was suggested as an example. Differentiating between reusable, non-degradable, degradable, oxo-biodegradable, hydro-biodegradable and compostable bagging might be a good place to start. Daniel explained using plastic bags in "windowsill recyclable bottle gardens". Besides being an entertaining idea for the adults at the meeting, school science class participation was encouraged. (Some examples are located at http://internetu.org/health/diet/biofeedback_farm/ )

Please contact us with any additions or suggestions.