Residents urge council to go greener

Waste Management has lauded the city's recycling efforts, but residents are urging city officials to go even greener to improve the environment and draw eco-tourism.

Going green could bring in more green, speakers told the City Council Nov. 15.

"I believe branding Laguna as the premier eco-destination has great possibilities," said businesswoman Theresa Cordova. "If enough people like the restaurant industry, and the Chamber of Commerce and city were behind it, it could be a big marketing boom."

Chris Prelitz, former chairman of the city's dismantled Environmental Committee, said the council should partner with the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau to make Laguna the most sustainable city in Orange County for the sake of the environment and the economy.

"We are facing a time of unparalleled change in the evolution of our society, our culture," environmentalist Scott Tenney said.

Sustainability does involve change, but it should be embraced, not feared, said Max Iles, founder of Transition Laguna.

"Change can be positive," he said.

Iles suggested that the rain barrels be placed to reduce urban runoff, restaurants use locally grown produce, and composting bins be placed in the city to reduce the amount of green waste that must be collected and transported outside of the city.

At least one of his suggestions already has city support.

Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly said the Laguna Beach County Water District promotes the use of rain barrels and has given prizes for the most creatively decorated ones to publicize their use.

Bill Roley, founder of the Permaculture Institute, said Laguna should be thought of as a zero-waste city, with nothing going to landfills and no burning.

"The key is the right person to work with the community so volunteers can see something happening," Roley said.

Michelle Clark, Waste Management spokeswoman, was able to present some tangible proof of the city's success in reducing the waste stream.

"The state requires the city to recycle 50% [of its residential trash]; Laguna Beach right now is at 71% ," said Clark. "And the businesses here participate. We have 557 commercial shops and more than 440 businesses recycle — the best ratio in Orange County."

Clark said Nov. 15 was America Recycles Day, and she celebrated it with students at El Morro Elementary School.

"Those kids are greener than me," Clark said.

Twitter: @CoastlinePilot

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World